That's a Wrap

Notes From the Austin Film Festival and Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference


D: Duane Graves

In the documentary Up Syndrome, UT film student Graves forges a tender and touching character study of childhood playmate and lasting companion Rene Moreno. While some might say that 24-year-old Moreno "suffers" from Down Syndrome, that's not the way Graves portrays it. Moreno makes due with his condition, hardly even acknowledging it as he focuses on his own active, humor-filled pursuits. In the same spirit that marks former Austinite Arthur Bradford's remarkable How's Your News? (apparently still in limbo despite Trey Parker and Matt Stone's involvement), Graves refuses to coddle his friend's disability, instead supporting him wherever possible. Whether quoting lines from his favorite movies or coming to terms with more serious issues -- like the loss of his job or breakup with his girlfriend -- Moreno shares himself with us completely. He opens up to Graves, and, in turn, brings us closer to understanding his condition. And in this way, Up Syndrome offers us the opportunity to share a year with enchanting company.

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