19 June 2020 News

picture of a closeup of a ladies face

A hard hitting short film gifted to the Motor Neurone Disease Association premieres today marking Global MND Awareness Day. Conceptualised and directed by young film maker Jess Journo, the film, entitled ‘The Dance’ is a tribute to Wendy Gladwyn, who dedicated her life to the arts, and has been given support by the Association’s patron, Eddie Redmayne.

“This film, through the form of dance, gives you a sense of the brutality of motor neurone disease. It’s compelling with a clear message, ‘Don’t ignore the problem because there isn’t yet a solution’. I want as many people as possible to watch and share it, even though it’s a little uncomfortable, so that understanding of MND will be greater in the future. It has been gifted to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, a charity which is close to my heart, and it portrays with huge emotion, the gradual loss of control and the tragic nature of stolen dreams.” – Eddie Redmayne.

At a fundraising night last year at White City House, West End performers from shows like Les Misérables, Five Guys Named Mo, Motown, Gypsy and Kinky Boots gave their voices, whilst production houses editors, composers, producers, DOP’s and grading houses also offered their time and facilities to create the film.

“I wanted to make a film that people couldn’t ignore, just because they think MND is incurable,” says Jess, who was one of the young performers championed by Wendy.

Jess cast classical dancer Dana Fouras, for her beguiling ability to transform emotion into movement. She also represents an age group most often diagnosed with MND. Fouras, who is known for her work with Russell Maliphant, who was on set, and roles such as Juliet in MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet, Solo Swan in Swan Lake and Requiem & My Brother My Sisters for the Royal Ballet Company, felt compelled to be a part of the project when she understood the motivation behind it.

Musician, Brendan Void, composed a special piece which rolls our emotions over the edge with haunting strings and a melody that draw us even further in to the visuals.

MND Association Director of External Affairs Chris James said:

“This is a fantastic piece of work by Jess and her team, portraying the brutality of motor neurone disease in dance. We are really grateful for all involved in the production of this film which we hope will raise awareness and promote understanding of MND.”