Up Syndrome is a 2001 American 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, Utah, and made available in the US via Hulu. 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.
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 film director Kevin Smith's Movies Askew contest in 2006. Scott Foundas of Daily Variety described the film as an "exceedingly playful and refreshingly unsentimental portrait" that does not fully explore its subject matter. Foundas concluded that it is "touching, but one-note filmmaking". Film Threat's Merle Bertrand states that it is "engaging...a memorable experience." Peter Debruge of The Austin Chronicle calls it "a tender and touching character study". IndieWIRE critic Richard Baimbridge wrote, "it's one of the best portrait docs I have seen." Shari Crall of The Californian writes, "I gained a new perspective."
- Texas Filmmaker Production Fund Recipients
- O'Connell, Joe (2006-10-20). "Film News". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
- Daily Variety Review
- Film Threat Review
- Austin Chronicle Review
- IndieWIRE Review
- Call, Shari (2000-09-04). "Film provides better understanding". The Californian. Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
- "National Down Syndrome Congress Convention Award Recipients" (PDF). National Down Syndrome Congress. Retrieved 2016-10-06.