KINGSTON, R.I. – April 30, 2019 — University of Rhode Island senior film media and public relations double major Justine Mirek emphasizes the importance of preserving precious memories in her debut film, “A Man’s Life.”
Mirek’s film explores the importance of caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s, a fatal brain disease that destroys brain cells, leads to memory problems and the loss of body functions.
The inspiration for the film was Mirek’s 79-year-old grandfather, Linc Streeter, a man she describes as her hero. She would visit with him and listen to his stories about his childhood up to his service in the Vietnam War. One that sticks out in her mind is a story about the day her mother was born.
“When my grandma was in labor with my mother, my grandfather was supposed to go on a mission with the Air Force,” said Mirek, of South Windsor, Connecticut. “He stayed to be with his family and the plane he was supposed to be on got lost over the Bermuda Triangle.
“Stories like these are important to preserve,” she added, “which was my motivation for the film.”
“A Man’s Life” was Mirek’s directing debut, as well as her first film. After studying abroad the spring of her junior year, Mirek decided that if she were to direct for the first time, it would have to be a project that meant a lot to her and one she could put all of her effort into.
Over winter break, Mirek visited her grandparents at an assisted-living facility in Connecticut. With the permission of her grandparents, she recorded conversations with her grandfather, and then her grandmother would fill in any blanks. From those notes she wrote a script, which she shared with her assistant director and producer to get their feedback.
Filming took place over two 12-hour days at the nursing home Elderwood of Scallop Shell at Wakefield. The film features a girl, Jane, and her grandfather, Abe. The story mirrors many of the experiences Justine and her grandfather shared and details the strain family members undergo as they cope with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
Mirek was assisted by many of her peers in the film media program. The film was produced by Spencer Kaplan, of Tenafly, New Jersey, a senior film media and political science double major. The director of photography was Sean Campbell, a senior film media and communication studies double major from Northbridge, Mass.
Through the classes and resources available in the Harrington School of Communication and Media, Mirek was able to complete the film as part of FLM 495, which allows students to make their own film or assist another student’s project. Mirek’s film, along with others made by students in the class, will be screened Friday, May 10, at 6 p.m. in Edwards Hall, 45 Upper College Road, on the Kingston Campus. On May 21, the film will be screened at the South Windsor Public Library in Mirek’s hometown of South Windsor, where her grandfather served as mayor.
To learn more about “A Man’s Life,” visit the film’s website.
Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.