Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life
Photos and Video
Director's Statement Collapse
In 2000, Darius Weems lost his beloved older brother to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), the number one genetic killer of children worldwide. I was 17 at the time and had known Mario for years. Just before he died, Mario asked me to look after Darius, who also had DMD. I had no clue what this promise meant until I found myself directing Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life. This is my first feature film. I am a recent graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Special Education. My college experience left me with no clue on how we would fund the trip or the subsequent documentary. So, we turned to our community for help. My hometown, Athens, GA, rallied around the cause. We also had huge success online selling credits ($10 and up) that appear at the end of our film. This grassroots support, combined with grant money from several agencies and a few private donations, enabled us to finance this project, and we are grateful to all those who supported us.
Darius Goes West is a movie about ability, not disability. And we took this trip to celebrate, not save, Darius's life. This movie is Darius's legacy, and his dream is that it will not only raise awareness of DMD, but raise sufficient funds to provide treatment or a cure for the generation of children with DMD who follow in his footsteps.
Film Information Collapse
[DARIU] | 2006 | 94 | Documentary Feature
Directed by: Logan Smalley
Foreign Title: (Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life)
Premiere: New York
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About the Director(s)Collapse
LOGAN SMALLEY, 24, was born in Ithaca, New York, and grew up in Athens, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 2006 with a degree in Special Education. At age 13, Smalley had volunteered at Project REACH, a summer camp for children with special needs, which is where he met Darius. At the time, Darius was still fully mobile. It was not until years later, when Smalley was watching MTV’s automotive makeover show, Pimp My Ride, that he came up with an idea: if they could spruce up old vans and beat-up cars, why not Darius’s wheelchair? In 2004, Smalley completed a 12-week study abroad program at the Cannes Film Festival. He plays piano, harmonica and the musical saw, and composed the music for first feature film, Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life