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. :: Deedah - The Film

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Message from the Producer

Deedah began as a series of conversations with my daughter, Charlotte, about her brother Jonathan, who has Down syndrome.

Even though she was only seven at the time, I was struck by how maturely she articulated her feelings of love and pride for her younger sibling, as well as her frustration that he was often misjudged and stereotyped because of the way he looks and sounds. It was clear she wanted to do something to educate others about Down syndrome in general, and her brother in particular. She also wanted to discuss themes universal to all children – bullying, acceptance and standing up for your beliefs.

Because I am a former television news anchor and reporter, I know a thing or two about the power of a good story, told by a strong protagonist, and accompanied by strong video. I told Charlotte I thought Deedah would make an excellent film and that I would like to produce it. She instantly agreed. Thankfully, my husband, Phil, agreed as well, surprising me with a digital video camera for Christmas. We were on our way, until it came to editing, which is not my strong suit.

I am so grateful I left that to a pro – Josh Jasso of Savannah’s West 41st Street Productions. Josh was also instrumental in designing the film’s graphic look and cover design. It was only natural that we back the story with music from Ralph’s World, whose music has been the soundtrack of my children’s lives. Now it is the soundtrack of their movie as well.  The trailer to our film says, “You may never look at a person with Down syndrome the same way – and that’s just fine with Deedah!” I hope Jonathan inspires you the same way he has me.

Jonathan has taught me to look at everyone I come into contact with as an individual.  Each of us has our own talents, hopes, dreams, shortcomings and unique life experiences. People with Down syndrome are no different. In fact, when it comes to Jonathan, I choose to celebrate the similarities instead of dwelling on the differences!

That is my wish for you as well.

-Brooke May, Producer, Deedah

About the Film Deedah

Deedah is an honest, touching and often humorous account of a seven-year old girl’s relationship with her six-year old brother, who has Down syndrome – or as he calls it - “Up!” syndrome. The film’s title comes from the nickname the boy gave his sister at a very early age. The girl believes it was her brother’s first attempt at saying “sister.”

The 26-minute film, shot in documentary news style, follows the siblings through their daily lives – at home, in school and in the community at large. Deedah tells us what it was like when her friends first met her brother. She says they were initially somewhat put off and concerned about his well-being. But now, she says, the children have embraced her brother as part of their circle of friends.

However, stereotypes abound. The girl bitterly describes her brother’s experiences with bullying and says people often make inaccurate assumptions about him because of the way he looks and sounds. She says she hopes this film will open many people’s eyes to the unique talents and abilities of not only her brother, but to all people with Down (Up!) syndrome.

Deedah describes her brother as smart, brave and funny, with a very bright future ahead of him. The film is a good introduction to Down syndrome, as well as a reminder that sometimes our perceptions of people are far from the actual reality.

Deedah was produced, directed, shot and written by Brooke May, a former television news anchor and reporter who is now a stay-at-home mom to Deedah and her brother, Jonathan, in Savannah. The film was co-produced and edited by Joshua Jasso of Savannah’s West 41st Street Productions. Josh is the winner of a 2009 Telly Award for documentary film editing for the historical series “Phantoms of History.”


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