Documentary maker’s pride as dementia film picks up awards


A documentary depicting the lives of dementia sufferers, including Holocaust survivors, has won a major international award.

Documentary filmmaker Lucy Kaye, from Walthamstow, east London, spent several weeks filming at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood, where community group Singing for the Mind meets every week.

Ms Kaye’s 12-minute film, Memory Songs, shows the filmmaker meeting meeting pensioners who told her their life stories and of the trials of living with dementia.

“They had all lived such rich and diverse lives — some had survived the Holocaust, others had been professional footballers, some were artists,” said Ms Kaye.

“I feel immensely privileged to have had the opportunity to have spent time with such interesting and inspiring people.”

The documentary has won the Grand Jury Prize at the prestigious Rhode Island Film Festival in the United States in a category recognising films which “reflect the Jewish experience”.

Ms Kaye also won the Pears Short Film award at the UK Jewish Film Festival earlier this year.

She said: “There are not many films about dementia made from the perspective of the sufferers themselves and I wanted to make something that could try and lift the stigma surrounding the illness.

“My purpose was to try and give a sense of not only who these people once were but who they remain, despite the illness.”

Singing for the Mind, which has about 30 members, is run by volunteers to support those suffering from dementia. Although held in a synagogue, the group is non-denominational.

Ms Kaye, who is Jewish, praised the group’s work and said she was honoured to “have experienced first-hand the power music can have in bringing people back to themselves.”


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