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*DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation)

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     1965 - Danny Weyand kdg..jpgDirector's Notes:

1965 - Mrs. Wines kdg.jpgTelling Donna’s story was truly an honor. Donna and I grew up together, our houses just a block apart. One day when we were in Kindergarten, we were all sitting on the floor in a circle – I don’t know what came over me! – I was bold enough to lean over and kiss her on the knee. Maybe it had something to do with the 1965 Herman's - Hermit 1965 - KDG class photo.jpgsong about Mrs. Brown's lovely daughter, number one on the charts at the time. It must have been true.

We were always good friends, and as we got older, she continued to make the "kiss on the knee" a running joke. Eventually, I settled out in California after college, and had a 30 year pause in communicating with Donna.

Sometime last year, we re-connected, and then about a month ago, she told me she was going to make a film for the Neuro Film Festival, and asked if I would look at it when she's done. I said I would do one better than that – I would make the film. Donna was great to work with and unstoppable in getting all the elements I needed.

Since I'm based in California, my direction was done exclusively via email and telephone calls in regards to how to shoot the interviews and what the questions were. My talented Denver-based mother, Maryruth, helped Donna write the script, and went over on a DBS SEQ.MD-Neuro.jpgsnowy night to be there for her and the boys’ interviews. One of Maryruth's most important contributions was convincing Donna's lovely mother to be on camera for the opening line!

The interviews were done in Donna's closet, with an older style video camera, a red blanket background, and a flood light – very low tech. Darrell did his interview with just questions on a Darrell interview.jpgpiece of paper, alone in the closet. Donna never knew anything that Darrell or the boys had said until the film was submitted.

The first tape that I received was Darrell's interview. Everything he had said was so perfect. It motivated the entire direction of the film and how the story was told. When I received the next tape with Donna and the boys’ interviews, I was overcome with the heartfelt sincerity that the entire family communicated so well. Now the pressure was on. With all these great interviews, I had to tell the story the best way possible.

Donna Interview.jpgBoys Interview.jpgSpencer Int.jpg

album-the-very-best-of-hermans-hermits.jpg“Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” had to be in the film. In the process of obtaining permission to use it, I learned that a big time consumer was also trying to clear the rights to use urgencycover.jpgthe Herman's Hermit song. With phone calls and emails from London to L.A. ,everyone in the chain stopped their busy "show biz" lives to be very helpful to a project more meaningful than what Lindsey Lohan wore to court. These helpful people are listed in the Special Thanks section in the film credits.

Maree McRae's music was such an inspiration. Amazing that the artist herself is Donna's neighbor, and that she gave us carte blanche to use anything she has recorded.

The story began to take shape, but some special shots were needed from a professional cameraman. That's when Tim Dennis, anotherJefferson High School alum, entered the picture. He perfectly executed the detailed shot list of what I needed of Donna and her family. Then all that was left was several hours of editing to create the final film.

Title.jpgAnyone inside PD knows what a statement it is for Donna to write the Writing.jpgtitle of the film, an impossibility for her prior to the DBS surgery. The film could end right there. Enough reason to support brain research: an 18 year case of PD – with perfect penmanship!

The purpose of the NFF is to help raise awareness and funding for brain research. Donna and her family are the perfect example of what can happen with a positive outlook. When you're done watching the film, I hope you see this as a story of hope and inspiration for what brain research has done and must continue to do. Donna, Darrell, Brad and Spencer told their story so eloquently, helping people to realize why brain research is so vital. Again, it was an honor to tell their story.
darrell.jpgDonna.jpgBrad.jpgSpenc.jpg Dan Weyand