It's Still Me! is a 17-minute guide for people with aphasia and their loved ones in order to help them learn how to communicate with each other more effectively. It explains what aphasia is, some basic facts about brain function, how it feels to have aphasia and finally demonstrates some ways to communicate without words. It acknowledges that the loss of words is devastating, both for those who have aphasia and for the people around them. More importantly it also holds out hope for a rich and fulfilling future.
Four aphasia centers (New York, Texas, California, and Canada) focus-grouped the work-in-progress, and their input was invaluable in crafting the script. Marc Black and Candy wrote Heart to Heart, the theme song of It’s Still Me! and Marc subsequently scored the movie.
It proved so successful that the National Aphasia Association received a grant to translate it into Spanish--It’s Still Me! is now available in Spanish: ¡Sigo siendo yo!
My mother suffered a massive stroke in 1994 and she then survived another 12 years with aphasia, the condition that impairs a person’s ability to process language. Because she could no longer speak, I noticed that even well-meaning friends stopped talking with her, and in fact, avoided looking directly at her when they came to visit. As a tribute to her and as a needed public service, we created It’s Still Me!
Only having my personal knowledge of aphasia, I approached the National Aphasia Association who gave me literature and introductions to 3 other aphasia centers that I would be able to test my script. We went through several versions and their input from both their patients and their caregivers was invaluable.
I chose a very simple Saul Steinberg-type design for the characters, simple enough that they didn't have to be specific. We created it in Flash, the then standard for 2D computer animation. Vinny still drew on paper, but Bryon would clean up his drawings in Flash, with Rick providing the technical expertise.
I knew the narrator had to be someone whose empathetic voice would enhance the message and I was delighted when Allison Janney, the multiple award-winning actress, agreed to narrate the film with her intelligent and caring voice.
Directed & Designed by: Candy Kugel & Vincent Cafarelli
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