Up Syndrome

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Up Syndrome
Up Syndrome poster.jpg
Directed by Duane Graves
Produced by Duane Graves
Justin Meeks
Written by Duane Graves
Starring Rene Moreno
Music by Rene Moreno
Derek Lacey
Cinematography Duane Graves
Edited by Duane Graves
Distributed by CineClix (North America)
Release dates
April 14, 2009 (Netflix)
Running time
82 mins.
Country  United States
Language English

Up Syndrome (2000) is a critically acclaimed, multi-award winning documentary directed by Duane Graves. It was picked up for distribution by CineClix shortly after its world premiere at the 2001 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, UT, and made available in the USA via Hulu. The movie - known for its playful, stirring and otherwise unorthodox approach to a more serious subject - has since garnered international acclaim as one of the most honest portrayals of Down Syndrome ever committed to film.[citation needed] Its director and subject, both lifelong friends, took home the National Media Award from the National Down Syndrome Congress in 2002. The film was selected to join the permanent archives of the United States Library of Congress in 2009.


Using donated digital tapes and a camera purchased with money earned from an eBay sale, indie filmmaker Duane Graves chronicles a year in the life of his charismatic childhood chum, Rene Moreno, who was born with Down Syndrome. After graduating from a high school for special students in San Antonio, TX, Moreno sets out to make his way in the adult world, optimistically battling the prejudices his condition engenders.


Actor Role
Rene Moreno Himself


The Austin Film Society provided grant support for distribution of the film. Later, a shortened 24-minute version of the documentary won the grand prize at famed movie director Kevin Smith's (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) Movies Askew contest in 2006. Notable film critic Scott Foundas of Daily Variety described the movie as "touching." Film Threat's Merle Bertrand states that it is "engaging...a memorable experience." Notable film critic Peter Debruge of the Austin Chronicle calls it "a tender and touching character study." IndieWIRE critic Richard Baimbridge raved "it's one of the best portrait docs I have seen." Shari Crall of The Californian writes "I gained a new perspective."


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