Documentary film Children of the Full Moon
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The idea to make documentary about families raising children with a severe from of autism came form Petr Třešňák and his wife Petra Třešňáková, parents of Dorotka, who is now 11 years old. They knew form their personal experience that few people can imagine the life of children like her, and that it is necessary to show it to the public.
Help from Hithit an Czech TV
The film was funded with a successful crowdfunding campaign on the hithit.com portal, with hundreds of contributors. Veronika Stehlíková, a film documentarist, was chosen for the role of director. During the summer of 2016, we made preparations and visited some families that would be suitable filming. The National Institute of Autism helped us choose them. The filming locations were in Prague, Pěnčín, Libčice nad Vltavou, Olomouc, Dolní Benešov, Ostrava and Havířov.
In early 2017, Czech TV joined the project. The chief screenwriter of schedule development Alena Müllerová helped us with script editing, and thanks to her effort, the documentary was completed in a short time and ready to be aired in TV. Czech TV also decided to support the related educational campaign and to cover the topic in their news reporting and journalistic programme.
The movie premiere was on April 24, 2017 in Bio Oko, a movie theater in Prague. It was aired on TV on May 2, 2017. Thanks to an agreement with Czech TV, the whole movie is available for viewing on‐line, as a part of the effort to raise awareness about the problems faced by families of children with autism.
About the families from the movie
Out of roughly ten families we contacted, we selected five for the documentary. The final version presents four children, their parents and siblings. We aimed for a composition that would illustrate all the various forms of challenging behavior, and various types of difficult situations that their families encounter.
Dorka, Adéla, Máca, Míša
Dorotka and her family are opening the whole movie. We used the home video archive of the Třešňák family, when the girl, who was seven years old at the time, went though an episode of mental decompensation and her family had to deal with unceasing fits of self‐harm, that were ending with hospitalizations in a psychiatric ward. She suffers from restlessness to this day, but she is living a happier life, thanks to the care for the family, schools, and assistants.
Thirteen year old Adélka lives with their parents and three siblings in a small house on the periphery of Prague. The camera catches her in the morning when she wakes up. Soon, it becomes clear how demanding living with her can be. Adélka won’t sit down for even a moment, keeps throwing stuff, harming herself, and needs a constant assistance of an adult. “It feels like the purpose of autism is to completely destroy the parent’s personality”, says her mother Jana Škochová.
Máca is an adult, she lives with her mother Marcela near Turnov. Her father died a few years ago, and the movie shows how difficult it is when all of this responsibility and stress falls on a single parent. Exhaustion, an infinite process of cleaning up the mess she makes, and especially social isolation turns her mother’s life into Sisyphean drudgery, which she tires to face with a distinctive sense of humor.
Míša is the most serious case of all our protagonist. He is over 20 years old, and he has been rejected by several social services, so he lives with a small prefab apartment with his aging, exhausted parents. He spends most of his time in a caged bed, because he is aggressive and attacks them. In the past, his parents often had to call an ambulance, because they were unable to calm Míša down.