Last year, I saw a documentary at the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama. It's called "Darius Goes West".
Truthfully, the reason I went to it was because it was the only film playing at the festival at the time and I had an all-access pass. But within the first ten minutes, I realized how lucky I was that that was the case. By the end, everyone in the theater had cried, laughed, and cheered out loud. And it wasn't just us. I read that the doc took home over 25 awards on last year's film festival circuit.
It's about a 15 year-old (Darius) with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and a road trip that he takes with eleven of his friends in an attempt to get his wheelchair customized on the MTV show "Pimp My Ride".
Not only is the film full of comedy, dedication, talent, and love, but it also raises awareness about wheelchair accessibility in the US as well as awareness about the disease, Duchenne, which, as I'm sure many of you know, is the number one genetic killer of children in the world. I wasn't even aware of the disease prior to learning about Darius.
The tagline of the film is: "Life, even when imperfect, is always worth the ride." This message resonates throughout the film, and long after the it ends. And though there are some emotional parts, the film is anything but a downer.
If only there were more film-makers who understood the power of the entertainment industry and set out to be dream-makers like Darius Weems.