True heroism is found not in dramatic events, but in day-to-day struggles. 24/7 portrays the experience of helping developmentally disabled adults with their most basic human needs all day, every day so they can live at home and avoid institutionalization.
24/7 reveals a world invisible to most of us. Yet it is a situation many families deal with today, and one that many more will face tomorrow.
24/7 unfolds as a story of frustration, courage and joy as parents and professional caregivers cope with Florida’s inability to provide desperately needed resources.
Throughout the United States, most state-funded care institutions, some quite terrible places to live, have closed. A better and cheaper alternative – at-home care – is not well funded in Florida and many other states. People are waiting years for help they need now. 24/7 brings to light their struggle and demonstrates nothing is more potent than love.
24/7 – the battle for at-home care – sheds light on a world invisible to most of us. It weaves the story of teenager Megan Holl and middle-aged Stuart Kessler, whose parents independently struggle with the challenges of caring for their developmentally disabled children while fighting with the state of Florida for financial assistance. For six months in 2005, University of Florida graduate students Mary A. C. Fallon and Daniel Priest recorded the daily care routines producing a cinéma vérité style survival story that reveals that just because a families are eligible and desperate for help, doesn’t mean governments deliver.
Daniel Priest and Mary Fallon shooting 24/7
Rob and Betsy Holl of Florida with daughters Megan and Holly
Betsy Holl feeds 18-year-old daughter Megan, who cannot do anything for herself
Using a friend’s pool, Betsy and Rob Holl guide Megan through exercises
Lifting adult-size Megan is one of the challenges her parents face daily
John Hall, executive director of Florida ARC in 2005, recommends to those with disabled family members considering relocating to Florida to move elsewhere.
Caregiver Kim Ellis walks Stuart Kessler daily in Gainesville, FL.
Caregiver Kim Ellis prevents Stuart Kessler from falling by using a gaitbelt.
Stuart Kessler, 47, cannot survive without caregivers around the clock.
Larry Kessler, Stuart’s father
Stuart gets shaved by a caregiver.
Marsha Desso, Stuart Kessler’s elderly mother, who has cancer but continues to fight Florida for her son’s care.
Daniel Priest and Mary Fallon document Stuart Kessler’s 47th birthday party with his caregivers.
Art Wallen, Stuart Kessler’s social worker.
Stuart Kessler with his parents and caregiver Kim Ellis at his 47th birthday party
Mary A. C. Fallon and Daniel Priest created 24/7 as their master’s thesis project while attending The Documentary Institute of the College of Journalism at the University of Florida. The documentary was completed April 2005.
Total running time is 00:32:41:17. 24/7 was shot with a Panasonic DVX100A camera in 24p. 24/7 was edited with Final Cut Pro 4.0 HD. Dolby Surround encoded.
Interested broadcasters, distributors and organizations should contact: Mary Fallon by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 408-499-4063.
Credits: 24/7 was produced, directed and edited by Mary A. C. Fallon and Daniel Priest. Roger Hunt composed the music. David Brown of Eastern Sky Studios, Casselberry, Florida, mixed post-production audio.