Jason DaSilva Moves Others to "Move It" With His Documentaries
The documentary filmmaker, writer and producer Jason DaSilva is spreading awareness of the MS movement by combining his personal experiences and his passion for film.
Jason’s films have been featured in dozens of festivals, including the Latin American Film Festival, Sundance, and the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam. His short documentary First Steps was in the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, and his film Olivia’s Puzzle received an Oscar qualification and was broadcast on HBO and PBS. In 2010, he took a 10-week journey across the United States to capture the stories of people with MS for We Keep Moving.
Jason first started to notice symptoms of MS in 2003 when he felt a weakness in his leg while walking down a subway staircase in New York. In 2005, at 26, he was diagnosed with primary-progressive MS. Slowly both his ability to walk and his vision started to decline.
Even holding a camera grew difficult. He coped by asking others to help him steady the camera and other equipment that every filmmaker must learn to control. “So even though it was hard, it wasn’t impossible,” he said.
Jason did not allow the challenges of MS to stop him, and decided to move to Canada to pursue a graduate degree in film. Currently, Jason is in the process of filming When I Walk, a documentary about his personal experience of being a filmmaker with MS, as well as the experiences of others living with MS. The documentary, which provides a first look at the challenges a person has to overcome once being diagnosed with this neurological disorder, is slated to be shown on PBS.
Learn more about When I Walk, which discusses the complexity of MS, options in medication and support systems, and insight into what it is to live with a chronicle illness. Most importantly, Jason wants viewers to see that being diagnosed with MS does not stop a person from living a happy and fulfilling life.
Interviewer Iwona Kzrysiak, whose father lives with MS, is the Society’s Mike Dugan Scholar for 2008-09, and attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.