Rubye, Gary and Aimie during production of Present Moment
Present Moment was made in less than two months with my business/creative partner Noah Dassel at REEL WITNESS (March 2015). Sharing my father's courageous story was my inspiration. I deeply admire Gary's important message: live in the world with intention, while finding acceptance amidst adversity.
This remarkably fluid production was the result of a few factors: Noah brought his creativity to the filming, while holding a very personal story with professionalism and compassion. Secondly, my parents' unwavering support of me resulted in an honest and tender portrayal of their very private experience. Lastly, my father's fearless willingness and candidness made this story a study of his daily struggles balanced with resiliency and bravery.
After Gary's doctor, Laurie Mischley watched a private screening, she immediately shared Present Moment with colleagues at The Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF) and Northwest Parkinson's Foundation (NWPF). MJFF embraced and posted it on their site; and, invited my dad to participate in an alternative healthcare broadcast. We had 8,000 views in the first two days! By the end of May, NWPF invited us to show the film and give a presentation at their Annual HOPE Conference.
The film is touching people around the world. Commentary and letters range from the head of a Parkinson's support group in Morocco; to a mindfulness therapist in Australia; to the head of Nursing at UC San Francisco. The film has been accepted into seventeen film festivals as of fall 2016, from around the USA (LA, NYC, PNW), to the UK, Germany, Italy, Germany and South Africa. My parents' story is impacting others and it's swiftly becoming a touchstone. Inspiring a recognition of a potential capacity -- far beyond the realms of earlier discussions of the limitations around long-term degenerative disorders. Mindfulness, meditation, acceptance, singing, and aging with grace, are being evoked as the film's key concepts along with Parkinson's.
As the filmmaker and daughter of Gary -- I'm indebted to this life-changing process, and I look forward to the unfolding.
~ Aimie Vallat
Gary and Rubye Vallat, featured in the film, have been married since 1967. Like any long term married couple, they've navigated many things in their marriage, so when Gary was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2008, they approached this news with the same fortitude and openness which had come to define their life thus far.
Gary's approach was to address his physical changes by staying active in his community and engaged in his life. Rubye came to the diagnosis with life long experience in supporting her family thru various physical ailments and met this new challenge with her usual unwavering compassion and steadfast support. The grace and acceptance they live each day is portrayed in their story, Present Moment.