“The Genius of Marian” — a compelling documentary recently released on Netflix — follows one family’s complex journey through generations of Alzheimer’s disease.
Learn more about the film, which provides an insider’s look at the stages of Alzheimer’s and a family’s struggle with the disease over time.
“The Genius of Marian” began as a tribute to accomplished American artist Marian Williams Steele, who was renowned for her artwork in the mid 20th century. Steele received over 100 awards for her oil and watercolor portraits and continued working throughout her life, but was slowed down by Alzheimer’s disease. She eventually passed away from the disease in 2001.
Steele’s daughter, Pamela ‘Pam’ Steele White, intended to celebrate the ‘genius’ accomplishments and artwork of her mother in a book. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s herself at the age of 61, while working on the tribute.
Steele’s grandson, and Steele-White’s son, Banker White, then transformed “The Genius of Marian” into a feature length documentary. White followed his mother throughout the stages of her disease until her death in 2016.
The film, co-directed by White and his wife, Anna Fitch, is said to be “A film that finds light… in a place often shrouded in shame.” Fitch says:
“‘The Genius of Marian’ is a reminder that we don’t often talk about the really important things until we’re in the middle of a tragedy, but you don’t have to wait. Alzheimer’s gives you the unique gift of time with someone you know you are going to lose. I hope our film will inspire people to connect on an intimate level with everyone they love.”
The moving documentary is now available on Netflix.
“The Genius of Marian” not only shares the Whites’ intimate struggles with the disease, but it also reaches families and viewers in similar situations. The documentary shows families how to continue to make the most of their time with loved ones before it’s too late.
Banker White, the White family and their friends faced the confusion, continued decline and pain that came from the disease head-on, still exhibiting love and patience above all else. This is something that I’ve learned is not easy to do, as my family and I continue down the path of Alzheimer’s with my own grandmother.
Pam Steele White, a gifted actress, health counselor, model, social worker, teacher, therapist — and above all, a loving mother and wife — recently passed away from the disease at her home, surrounded by loved ones. Her legacy will live on in “The Genius of Marian,” and we send the White family our heartfelt condolences.
If you would like to get involved with the documentary and take action against the disease, visit the film’s “Genius of Caring” website, “which offers a uniquely intimate glimpse into the caregiving experience and creates an intimate portrait of a community connected through compassion.”
How did “The Genius of Marian” Alzheimer’s documentary impact you and your family? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and visit our resources for more information about Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
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