Tuesday 21 March 2017 marks the 12th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. On this day events take place around the world to celebrate individuals with Down Syndrome (DS).
To commemorate World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), on March 21st the Down Syndrome Research Foundation UK (DSRF UK)* and Don’t Screen Us Out (DSUO)* are proudly presenting over fifty last-chance screenings of the “poignant and beautifully acted” My Feral Heart, which features Steven Brandon, an actor who has Down Syndrome, in the lead role. Steven received two BIFA nominations, a National Film Awards nomination, and universal praise from film critics for his central performance as Luke. BBC Film Critic, Mark Kermode called his portrayal of Luke ‘absolutely terrific’.
My Feral Heart illustrates how we all face challenges regardless of our background, and genetic make-up. Its success as a film about ‘ability’ not ‘disability’ has meant that the international DS community, and especially DSUO’s thousands of supporters, have connected passionately with the film.
£1 from every ticket sold for WDSD screenings will be donated to DSRF UK in support of DSUO.
LAST CHANCE TO MAKE SCREENINGS HAPPEN AT A CINEMA NEAR YOU!
In partnership with ourscreen, the cinema-on-demand website: Vue, Picturehouses, and ODEON are amongst the venues making screenings available nationwide. As with all ourscreen events the screenings will only go ahead if sufficient presales of tickets are met. Cinemagoers will have until March 12 to make these charitable screenings happen.
Book online today: www.ourscreen.com/WDSD
Rum Jam Films, the production company behind My Feral Heart and its independent UK release, has chosen March 21 (WDSD) as a fitting finale to My Feral Heart’s breakout big-screen success story. Due to public demand, over 100 screenings will have taken place before it leaves our cinemas, a swell of support that prompted ourscreen to dub it “a runaway train”. The film won hearts and minds from Cornwall to The Shetlands as it smashed all previous ourscreen records to become the ‘people powered cinema’ site’s top performing film of all-time.
*Down Syndrome Research Foundation UK is the only UK charity seeking to carry out therapeutic research for people with Down syndrome to help improve the quality of their lives.
*Don’t Screen Us Out is an umbrella campaign aiming to stop prenatal discrimination and ensure that the rights of people living with Down’s syndrome are respected by everyone.
MY FERAL HEART WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY SCREENINGS:
MARCH 21, 2017
Presented by DON’T SCREEN US OUT, DOWN SYNDROME RESEARCH FOUNDATION UK and ourscreen
WHY MARCH 21?
The date for World Down Syndrome Day being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
WDSD 2017 focuses on enabling people with Down syndrome (and those who advocate for them) to speak up, be heard and influence government policy and action, to ensure that they can be included, on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society. This mirrors the intentions of DSUO.
ABOUT DSUO & DSRF UK
Don’t Screen Us Out (DSUO) is a campaign supported by the Down Syndrome Research Foundation UK (DSRF UK). The campaign lobbies Parliament in the UK to think again about introducing a new cfDNA antenatal test. Current law allows a pregnancy for a baby tested to have DS to be terminated up to full-term. The UK government’s proposed cfDNA screening implementation is projected to result in a profound increase in the number of children with Down syndrome screened out by termination. The DSUO campaign calls for MPs to sign the Early Day Motion calling for a delay to the implementation before it’s too late. This has already happened in Iceland where 100% of unborn babies tested to have DS are terminated.
The Don’t Screen Us Out campaign has proudly supported My Feral Heart, the inspirational film written by Duncan Paveling and beautifully realised by first-time feature director Jane Gull, since its UK premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival last June. “The film demonstrates the issues faced by people with Down syndrome in a society that continues to hold institutionalised, and outdated views about learning disability” says DSUO spokesperson Lynn Murray “and in the portrayal of Luke’s story, shows exactly why DSUO advocates equality for people with Down syndrome in a world where antenatal screening has fostered discrimination for those living with the condition”.
Antenatal screening technologies have led to a dearth of Down syndrome research, and the Down Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF UK) are continually challenged to fund therapeutic research to help improve the outlook. “We were delighted to be asked by My Feral Heart producer James Rumsey to collaborate with his company Rum Jam Films, and ‘people powered cinema’ service ourscreen on fundraising screenings to celebrate WDSD this year. Please come and see this heart-warming film, celebrate World Down syndrome Day, and consider how we can improve the future for people like Luke” urges spokesperson for DSRF UK, Elizabeth Corcoran.
For more info on the DSUO campaign: https://dontscreenusout.org/
DSUO Contact: Lynn Murray | email@example.com
For more info or to donate to Down Syndrome Reasearch Foundation: http://www.dsrf-uk.org/
DSRF UK Contact: Elizabeth Corcoran | firstname.lastname@example.org
ourscreen enables film fans to take control of their local cinema. In three easy steps (pick a film – decide where and when – share your screening), we’re all able to create film screenings, for either just our friends, or anybody who wants to come. ourscreen is available in over 65 cinemas across the country and has access to over 10,000 titles. If enough people book tickets the screening happens.
Contact: Yoel Noorali | email@example.com | Website: www.ourscreen.com
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND TO MY FERAL HEART
The small British Indie film with a mighty heart that everyone is talking about is one of the few films to cast an actor with a disability in a lead role, written by Duncan Paveling, directed by Jane Gull, with music by Barrington Pheloung (Morse, Endeavour, Hilary & Jackie). It stars Steven Brandon, an actor with Down syndrome in a BIFA nominated debut as ‘Luke’. The film boasts a strong supporting cast which includes BIFA nominee Shana Swash (EastEnders), Will Rastall (Hollyoaks, Game of Thrones), Eileen Pollock (Far and Away, Bread), Suzanna Hamilton (1984, Out of Africa) and the UK’s top contortionist Pixie Le Knot (It Never Sleeps, Game of Thrones) as The Girl.
‘A RICHLY REWARDING FILM… SEEK IT OUT’ BBC Film Critic Mark Kermode
‘★★★★ – POIGNANT & BEAUTIFULLY ACTED’ The Observer
‘A LACY WORK OF DELICACY’ Guardian Online
‘COOLY ACCOMPLISHED’ Screen International
‘SWASH & RASTALL ARE FIRST RATE’ Variety
‘POETIC CINEMATOGRAPHY’ Sight & Sound
‘WONDROUSLY NATURAL & INSIGHTFUL’ Radio Times
‘★★★★BRANDON IS UTTERLY CAPTIVATING’ Cine Vue
‘★★★★A REVELATION IN INDIE FILMMAKING’ Movie Review World
‘REFRESHINGLY POSITIVE’ Total Film
‘A SPELLBINDING FILM’ Shooting People
‘A sudden bereavement throws Luke, a fiercely independent young man with Down syndrome, into a daunting new environment where he finds unexpected support from his feisty, streetwise carer and a local heir dealing with his own demons. As friendships bloom and long-buried secrets are revealed, Luke verges dangerously close to disaster. My Feral Heart is a beautifully realised, understated character study bolstered by strong performances, distinctive cinematography and a deeply evocative score.’ Synopsis taken from Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016 programme for ‘Best of British’
The film has strong ‘Women in Film’ credentials
My Feral Heart is the debut feature for award-winning director Jane Gull, and director of photography Susanne Salavati. The film boasts impressive performances from actresses on the rise: BIFA and National Film Award nominee and EastEnders favourite Shana Swash as Eve, and the UK’s leading contortionist Pixie Le Knot, as The Girl. Experience is also on show with memorable performances by Eileen Pollock as Luke’s Mum, and Suzanna Hamilton as Pete’s Mum.
ABOUT RUM JAM FILMS
Rum Jam Films was formed by Producer James Rumsey. My Feral Heart was James’ debut feature film as a producer, an outing that earned him a BIFA Breakthrough Producer long-list nomination (2016). He chose to produce My Feral Heart, not for diversity’s sake but because the writer / director team of Duncan Paveling / Jane Gull had developed a truly stand out screenplay and collaboration with that kind of talent is irresistible. Rum Jam Films will continue to champion talent first and foremost. Projects for the big screen and TV are in development; more details will be released as they progress.