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April 12, 2013 | posted in Filmmakers
Dementia is a challenging illness, and one for which researchers are still struggling to find effective treatments. Director Naomi Kazama made the film, “Do You Know What My Name Is?” about the work being done at the Eliza Jennings Center on the illness. She says that she was inspired to make the film because she wanted to explore the possibilities of being human.
“Do You Know What My Name Is?” recently won The American Documentary Film Festival 2013 Award for Audience Favorite (International Film).
The documentary that focuses on a specific therapy used to treat dementia—learning therapy—being implemented at Cleveland’s Eliza Jennings Senior Care Network, which is the first site in the United States to conduct research on using this form of therapy. Devised by neuroscientist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, the goal of the therapy program is to reverse symptoms of dementia. His treatments have been successful on patients in Japan.
Kazama chose to film the entire course of a six-month trial of the treatment program; she focuses on John, a member of the research team working at Eliza Jennings with dementia patients.
“Aiming to film the progress of six-month trial objectively, I chose John as a center of this documentary,” says Kazama. “At the time of filming, one of his jobs was to record the progress of this trial. He used “Do you know what my name is?” as a part of the dementia treatment to check on short-term memory.”
Kazama feels that “Do You Know What My Name Is?” will hold special appeal for Cleveland audiences.
“By capturing the stories of these participants in the study, we are telling stories that are fundamentally about Cleveland,” she says. “And there’s no better venue for presenting what is really impacting Clevelanders than the Cleveland International Film Festival.”
Photo by George F. Gund.
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