Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
"Personality Crash: Portraits of My Father Who Suffered from Advanced Stages of Parkinson's Disease, Dementia and Sundowner's Syndrome" explores the human condition when altered by disease, from an intimate perspective. With my role as documentarian and eventually primary caregiver, my father and I agreed in the early stages of his Parkinson’s diagnosis to make this body of work as a way to bring us closer together, knowing illness would eventually pull us worlds apart. The project continued for a handful of years, through compounding afflictions of dementia and sundowner’s, until his death on January 1, 2018. This work became a journal of my father's remaining time here, as well as a story about family bonds, individual strength, courage and perseverance through betrayal of mind and body.
Ultimately, “Personality Crash” is an exploration of loss … not just my father’s loss of autonomy and self, but of the loss of the father I had known my whole life – my protector, champion and role model, who seemed indestructible in his daughter’s eyes. Making this work was as much for me to understand his physical and cognitive changes, as for him. In his final year, my father had increasing moments of confusion, hallucination, disorientation, and major disconnect from simple instruction and the tactile world around him. My father became my child that I protected, cared and advocated for - I literally parented my parent – and would go to all ends to guarantee his visibility and dignity in the world.
In retrospect, this project was bigger than either of us, and much more than a bridge between our different realities on the road to his death. It was an unexpected lesson in learning the depths of my own capacity to love as well as the profundity of my anguish. From the start, we agreed to present an honest, raw, powerful, compassionate version of end-of-life to honor my father’s struggle. He was very proud of this work and was an active participant up until his last day.