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photo Mayor of the West Side
By Judd Ehrlich

This complex, engaging video explores what happens when love gets in the way of letting go. It is the riveting coming-of-age story of Mark Puddington, a teenager with multiple disabilities, who is a local celebrity in his New York City neighborhood. Against the backdrop of preparations for his Bar Mitzvah, and with the constant, unstinting support of his devoted mother, both his family and the wider community face the reality of his uncertain future. They must consider what Mark's life will be like when they are no longer able to protect and take care of him. Filmmaker Judd Ehrlich worked for nearly ten years as a caretaker for Mark, and his close relationship with the family results in an unusually intimate portrait of family dynamics.

56 minutes
© 2003
Purchase $229 DVD
Order No. QA-395
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-849-9
close captioned

Reviews
"An extraordinarily compelling and deeply engaging human story!" Ric Burns, Director, New York: A Documentary Film

"An unsentimental look at the disabled. Sad and inspiring in equal measure, a remarkable portrait of an unforgettable character." Shlomo Schwartzberg, Boxoffice Magazine

"A remarkable documentary! Viewers are introduced to the most intimate and poignant moments. The pressing political, religious and social issues that emerge are seamlessly woven to create a provocative family drama that will speak to a very broad audience." Garrison Botts, WNET Thirteen

"The difference between this film and others is its total lack of sentimentality. I came away quite moved and aware, possibly for the first time, that someone who can't do anything for himself, can inspire whatever it is that we need to make us believe it's all really worth it." Anne Bernays, author

"Captures some wonderfully telling moments. An interesting portrait of family dynamics in the face of disability. Recommended." Video Librarian

"Provides insight to parents on how to raise a disabled teenager. Recommended." Educational Media Reviews Online

Awards & Conference Screenings
Emmy Award Nomination, Best Documentary
Perspectives Exhibition, American Film Institute
Brooklyn Jewish Film Festival
Toronto Jewish Film Festival
Boston Jewish Film Festival
Sprout Film Festival


Related Films
Love Limits: Two people with intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy are united in their commitment to each other and to living their lives with dignity and grace.

24/7: Profiles two families exhausted by the struggle to provide all day, every day care for their developmentally disabled adult children at home, while simultaneously battling for the help and resources they need. How long can they do it alone?

When Parents Can't Fix It: Looks at the stresses and rewards in the lives of five families who are raising children with disabilities. A realistic look at different family strengths and coping styles.

Raymond's Portrait: This video introduces viewers to a remarkable young man born with Down syndrome and it is a powerful example of what can happen when a child is encouraged to develop to his full potential, regardless of others perceptions about his abilities. DVD version has both closed-captions and audio description.

Refrigerator Mothers: From the 1950's through the 1970's, autism was widely blamed on cold and rejecting mothers. This film explores the devastating impact of this misdiagnosis through the stories of seven mothers and their children.


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