2007 Humanitarian Award

Accolade Competition Humanitarian

Award Goes To Shaken: Journey into the Mind of a Parkinson’s Patient

Humanitarian AwardIn recognition of its contribution to fostering understanding about Parkinson’s disease, The Accolade’s annual humanitarian award goes to Shaken: Journey into the Mind of a Parkinson’s Patient, produced and directed by Deborah J. Fryer. Shaken is a tour de force about the elusive disease that doctors are calling the most common uncommon illness in America.

The award recognizes Fryer’s outstanding contribution as a filmmaker to an important social cause. Producer/Director Deborah J. Fryer made the movie with some donations from friends and family, but mostly she financed the documentary using her savings and credit cards. With more than 60 hours of footage shot, including stories of many other Parkinson’s patients, Fryer is embarking on a full-length film about Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that results from decreased dopamine production and currently affects 1.5 million people across the country Symptoms of Parkinson’s include difficulty walking, tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity, slurred speech stiff facial expressions, and depression. While there are many therapies, the disease is progressive and there is no cure.

Shaken is a moving and insightful 30-minute documentary about Paul Schroder, an electrical engineer whose dreams were short-circuited at age 33 by early onset of Parkinson’s disease. After ten years of increasingly debilitating symptoms and devastating side effects from the medication, Paul undergoes a 14-hour operation during which doctors’ journey into the lobes of his brain looking for clues about the dopamine loss. The film gracefully navigates the details of science while arousing the viewer’s curiosity and compassion.

The documentary has been creating quite a stir in the past few months. Shaken brilliantly captures the challenges associated with Parkinson’s disease, and its treatment. You don’t have to be a neuroscientist or a Parkinson’s patient to appreciate this film; you only have to be human”, commented Nestor Matthews, Ph.D., of the Psychology Department at Denison University.

Shaken has screened and won awards at film festivals around the world. It has also been shown on Capitol Hill, in university classrooms, public libraries, neurology clinics and Parkinson’s support groups across the country. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “This is the best film I have seen on Parkinson’s disease ever”, said Drew Dimmel, President Emeritus, Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland.

James Parkinson first described the symptoms of “the shaking palsy” in 1817. 190 years later, we are learning that exposure to certain environmental toxins may play a significant role in the onset of the disease. The Merck Manual predicts that 1 in 100 over the age of 60 will get Parkinson’s, and young onset Parkinson’s is on the rise. One in five people you know, knows someone suffering with the disease. Deborah Fryer, producer of Shaken, said, The more eyes we can open, the closer we are to a cure.

The Accolade salutes filmmaker Deborah Fryer.