In the Irish Parkinson’s disease film, Feats of Modest Valour, three individuals live clockwork existences, dictated by a strict regime of medication to manage the physical reality of living with their condition. Brian Carney is an Irish farmer whose son had to take over the running of the family farm from a very young age; Milena Lulic is a Croatian World War II survivor who faces her condition head-on with great dignity; and Tom Hickey, the Irish actor, talks about how suffering for his art takes on a whole new meaning with the disease.
Interwoven with their stories, we see researchers in Ireland, led by NECTAR and Neuroscience Ireland President, Dr Eilís Dowd, who are developing a novel therapeutic approach which they hope will revolutionise treatment of the condition. Guided by stunning animated sequences, the film delves into the brain of someone with Parkinson’s disease, and shows how dying cells can be replaced by dopamine neurons supported by a natural biomaterial scaffold.
In October 2017, Feats of Modest Valour won the prestigious Scientist Award and the runner-up People’s Choice Award at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York. In December 2017, Feats of Modest Valour also won the Professional Documentary Award at Raw Science Film Festival in California.
The Scientist Award was given by the leading international science journal, Science, and its publisher, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The select jury included Nobel prize-winning scientist, Professor Martin Chalfe, and award-winning science columnist for the New York Times, Professor Carl Zimmer. The Scientist Award is presented by Science/AAAS to a film that portrays in an accurate and inventive way the life of a scientist. The goal of this award is to encourage more scientists to create films that let the audience into their minds, labs, and lifestyle.