200 Perfect Jumps
My father died of Parkinson's disease
, which he had for a long time and finally succumbed in 1999 at age 73. So when I was invited to World Premiere: The 200 Perfect Jumps for Parkinson's Disease Independent Movie
, I checked with Carole and signed us up. As it turns out, my father died just a few months after Kevin Burkart's father Gary was diagnosed with Parkinson's.
I wasn't entirely sure what the event entailed, so I didn't bring a camera to the movie theater. In retrospect, a mistake. Really, my dictum "when in doubt, bring the camera" should be deeper ingrained. Anyway.
The first hour was schmoozing. Appetizers, pamphlets, meeting people (including the guy who jumped and most of the people who helped with the movie) and milling about. I'd never seen the movie theaters in the Mall with a cash bar, set up for private parties. We were initially supposed to be in the VIP suite, 31 seats that move and make you part of the experience, plus waiters to take your food and drink order. Apparently (I'm guessing), too many people signed up so we were in one of the standard theaters; still nice, but no waitstaff.
The movie itself was interesting. Trailer for The 200 Perfect Jumps for Parkinson's Disease
I've done a zillion of these kinds of event/interview montages, and these are exceptionally well done. I wish they had spend the four or five minutes tracking one jump from shute packing to landing in real time. The cuts and aerial photography gave me a good sense of sky diving, but not a full feel for how difficult it was to attempt 200 in a single day.
The interviews with people living with Parkinson's and their loved ones are revealing and poignant. The photography is sharp, the editing moves the action along and the music works. The little animations early on, explaining Parkinson's are very well done. (I had a chance to talk to the animator after the film.) Kevin Burkart is a loquacious spokesman for the cause, and a fearless skydiver.
A panel discussion afterward was okay, but didn't work as well. The main thrust was taking questions from the audience, and we were mostly silent. I had a question forming, which was eventually answered anyway. We don't really have cures for Parkinson's, but some treatments for some of the symptoms are promising. Raising awareness for the disease has helped get sufferers into treatments and specific caregiving conditions. It would have been better, imrho, to have all the panelists give a five minute talk before taking questions, and maybe getting some interaction. Indeed, one of the best moments of the panel was Alex Christensen, the son of one of the Parkinson's people featured in 200 Perfect Jumps
, admitting that this was the first time he really faced the possibility of Parkinson's having a heredity component.
An interesting evening, and I'm glad we went. I gave my card to a number of people, in case there's an event I can get to for the type of Guerilla Journalism I practice at the moment. I took a Jump Memorial Form in case I want my father's story read during THE 300 PERFECT JUMPS
attempt on June 19, 2012.