Friday, September 12, 2008

Darius Goes West -- the sequel!

If you attended our festival in 2007, you no doubt saw (or meant to see) a charming documentary called DARIUS GOES WEST: THE ROLL OF HIS LIFE. It told the story of a then-15-year-old boy named Darius Weems, afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which had left him wheelchair-bound. With the help of 10 of his friends, including students from the University of Georgia, Darius set out on his first roadtrip outside of Clarke County, Ga., in an RV, headed for Los Angeles to have his wheelchair customized by West Coast Customs (the headquarters of MTV’s show, PIMP MY RIDE). Along the way, the boys share a unique bond with Darius, treating him as a regular 15-year-old and not as a fragile figure, while advocating access for people with disabilities, and shedding light on an increasingly prevalent-yet-overlooked disease.

Darius and crew were hands-down the stars of that year’s festival, and the film took prizes for Best Documentary Feature and the Audience Award before going on to win almost every award possible at 27 other film festivals. Appearances on NIGHTLINE, the TODAY show and the ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW fueled interest in the film, resulting in major sponsorships from Delta Airlines and Dodge Trucks. Also, they met countless people who wanted to show their support.

The film’s director, Logan Smalley, decided to self-release the DVD at the end of last year, so that he could designate all of the proceeds to DMD research. Inspired by the initial success of the DVD, he now has a new goal in mind: to sell a million DVDs in one year.

This spring, Darius reached another milestone: he has graduated from high school! And now he is ready for another road trip! He will be on the road with the crew in a new RV, raising awareness and selling DVDs to fund DMD research. Come see him and the crew in Oxford at the Powerhouse on Wednesday, September 17 at 7:00.

If you saw the film in 2007, come by the Powerhouse and say hello. If you have been telling your friends about Darius’s story, bring them along! If you meant to see the film but missed it: now’s your chance! If you’d like to buy a DVD – the perfect holiday gift – they will be available.

OXFORD SCREENING: Wednesday, September 17 at 7:00pm
Powerhouse Community Arts Center
413 S. 14th Street (corner of University Ave., next to Newk’s)
$5.00 at the door, for DMD research

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