Down’s Syndrome Film Amber and Me
Amber and Me, the documentary about twin sisters battling to stay together at school, will be online on 21 March 2020, World Down’s Syndrome Day.
The film, which has been described as “a beautiful, tender portrait of childhood” by the producer of the Emmy-winning film The English Surgeon Rachel Wexler, looks at the highs and lows of the girls’ first four years of school and how the experience changes their relationship.
Amber, the older of the twins by two minutes, has Down’s syndrome, and although at first she enjoys school, she starts to struggle when her TA is moved to another class and some of her peers are unkind to her. Olivia, her sister, tries to make things better, in an attempt to keep the girls together in the same class and at the same school.
The director of the film and father to the girls, Ian Davies, said that he hoped the film would promote discussion about provision for and welfare of children with SEND (special educational needs or a disability) in schools.
“Although the film is really about the relationship between the twins, it does bring up quite a few issues which are faced by many families who are trying to work out how the school system works for children with special educational needs. I hope it encourages more schools to be more inclusive.”
“I was interested to see how Amber would settle in at school so we filmed her first couple of days and then returned from time to time to check her progress. I thought it would be useful to have another example of a child with Down’s syndrome doing well, to show prospective parents that having a child with DS is not the disaster that some medical professionals might lead new parents to believe. The discussion around NIPT was also very prominent at this time.”
The film was to be released in around 30 cinemas from World Down’s Syndrome Day, but this had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Ian is now making the film available directly from the Amber and Me website (see below) for the Down’s syndrome community on 21st March, ahead of the public video release in October. “Lots of people were disappointed that we had to cancel, as it’s such a positive film, so I’m really pleased we’ve found another solution.”
He aims to make it available in schools from September and has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help do this. “We hope to screen it in more than 100 schools in the next 18 months to help promote inclusion and community.”
He is currently filming the follow-up film Amber, Me and Matilda, which should be completed by spring 2021.”