Ann Reinking demonstrates on the set.

IN MY HANDS

Brenda Siemer: Co-Producer/Co-Director

Ann Reinking brought Emma Morris and me the idea of doing a much needed film on Marfan syndrome. Her son Christopher, then is his teens, suffered from the breakdown of whole-body connective tissue.

Almost no one I spoke to knew anything about the disease. Young teens with Marfan are characterized by unusual height and long spindly fingers and limbs. Great for basketball, but impossible for the valves of the heart. And that becomes life threatening. The families whose children were diagnosed with Marfan syndrome did not know where to turn, nor what to expect.

To start the filming we began following 3 families. Facing so many unknown factors of the syndrome alone was overwhelming. Now they would come together to attend an annual Marfan Syndrome Conference, this year on the Stanford campus. They had access to the many doctors who could examine and counsel them on the multiple aspects of the disease. But for the kids, the social activities and camaraderie were reason for their enthusiasm.

One of those events was the challenge of a harnessed rope-climb high into the California trees. The kids partnered to each scale a tree to the top. Reaching out they then took the hand of their partner and were slowly lowered down to the ground, to rounds of applause. When Ann reviewed the footage she proclaimed "they look like silk floating to earth!" She saw the opportunity to choreograph the extraordinary long and languid bodies in her mind's eye. And later we were able to capture her process with a small volunteer group of kids. The result for them was amazingly life affirming.


"In my Hands" moved me in ways that I did not anticipate. It masterfully explores a genetic medical condition with a reach that spans from molecules to society, from the factual details to the intimate consequences. While In My Hands focuses on Marfan syndrome, the lessons are universal. Having studied and cared for people with Marfan syndrome for 20 years, I thought I knew it all. I was humbled and enriched by watching this extraordinary film."

Hal Deitz, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine

On set ~ The Delgardo twins

Awards

  • 2011 The Hamptons International Film Festival
  • 2010 CINE Golden Eagle - Special Jury Award for Documentary Short
  • The Garden State Film Festival, NJ
  • Toronto COMMFEST Film Festival - "Making a Difference Award" for best documentary under 60 minutes
  • Genetic Alliance Conference in Washington, DC.
  • NY Academy of Arts and Sciences for a presentation of understanding Marfan Syndrome research ~ screening was followed by a medical panel from Johns Hopkins Hospital joined by the filmmakers

Reinking/Siemer/Morris Debuted "In My Hands," a new documentary by Sister Productions, which was screened at the NBC Universal Screening Room, New York City on May 27. 2009. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced the film.


Running time: 56 minutes