Normie

Logline:
(24 words / 149 characters) As a young millennial woman seeks independence and intimacy, she grapples with the illusion of normal and the realities of living with Down syndrome.

Short Synopsis:
(49 words / 287 characters) When Annemarie looks in the mirror, she sees Down syndrome. She hates it. To her, the diagnosis is a giant barricade keeping her from the independence and intimacy she desperately desires. She embarks on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to understand what it means to be normal.

  • Kurt Neale
    Director
    Compelling Love & Sexual Identity, Ask
  • Kurt Neale
    Producer
    Compelling Love & Sexual Identity, Ask
  • Steve Vanderheide
    Editor
    Compelling Love & Sexual Identity, Ask
  • Katie Anderson
    Co-Producer
  • Julie Neale
    Co-Producer
  • Steve Vanderheide
    Co-Producer
  • Kurt Neale
    Director of Cinematography
    Compelling Love & Sexual Identity, Ask
  • Aaron Rose
    Music and Sound Director
  • Annemarie Carrigan
    Key Cast
    “Herself”
  • Harris III
    Key Cast
    “Himself - Illusionist”
    Counterfeit
  • Josh White
    Key Cast
    “Himself - Pastor”
  • Dr. Christopher Berry, M.D.
    Key Cast
    “Himself - Doctor”
  • Pat Carrigan
    Key Cast
    “Himself”
  • Emily Carrigan
    Key Cast
    “Herself”
  • Katie Anderson
    Key Cast
    “Herself”
  • Dave Anderson
    Key Cast
    “Himself”
  • Amy Julia Becker
    Key Cast
    “Herself”
  • Peter Becker
    Key Cast
    “Himself”
  • Film Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 14 minutes 2 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 28, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    55,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Breckenridge Film Festival
    Breckenridge, CO
    United States
    September 20, 2019
    Colorado Premiere
    Audience Award
Director Biography - Kurt Neale

Independent filmmaker Kurt Neale is a native of Texas and has worked in 17 countries over the past 40 years as a filmmaker, photographer and storyteller. Kurt’s work unveils the complexities of sensitive subjects, provoking self-reflection while cumulating with the mysterious collision of truth and grace. NORMIE is his third feature documentary as director/producer.

His film ASK (2017, 81 min)–normalizing addiction and codependency while questioning, what everyone touched by the disease wants to know, can love survive it?–won Best Spiritual Film at the Breckenridge Film Festival. It also screened at numerous recovery-industry festivals and events, including The New Jersey Recovery Film Festival (Best Strength Film, Best Editor, and Best Cinematography), the Cape Town Recovery Film Festival and the REEL Recovery Film Festival and Symposium.

His work as director and cinematographer on more than 400 video shorts was followed by COMPELLING LOVE (2015, 93 min, Spotlight Documentary Film Gold Award), a documentary that invited both sides of the polarizing cultural debate around gender identity and sexuality, without political agenda, to connect with the other despite their differing beliefs or, even, offense.

All of Kurt’s features have been inspired by his personal relationships. Each reflects his commitment to honor the depth and vulnerability of the human experience and to create a dialogue instead of pushing a specific dogma. His friends and family have not only served as inspiration, but also as cast and crew, including his wife of 39 years, Julie, and his children, Connor and Katie. Kurt and Julie live in Dallas, TX, but also love to escape to the mountains of Colorado.

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm6966183
Website: http://www.kfnproductions.com

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Our country today feels less empathic and more fractured than ever before. The quest for power and control leaves little room for questions. But in a culture where everyone is clamoring to be the superstar, I find myself more and more drawn to the misfit. Perhaps this is because I myself feel fundamentally flawed and acutely aware of my own brokenness. Everywhere I turn, I am bombarded with unequivocal facts, but what I deeply crave is a creative platform to ask vulnerable questions. I hope to have achieved that in NORMIE.

The seed for this film was planted 22 years ago when close friends gave birth to a daughter with Down syndrome. Over the years I watched her parents struggle to balance their loving desire to protect their daughter with her increasing campaigns for typical independence, a tension that is universal for most parents. Twenty years later, in 2016, another couple dear to my heart received a birth diagnosis of Down syndrome with their second daughter, Palmer. Around this same time Annemarie, the first daughter, had just returned home after graduating from a higher education preparatory experience. For both families, future obstacles seem big and external: high medical needs, lack of financial literacy, hopes for social integration. But as I pulled back the layers, deeper existential questions birthed from sincere pain, loneliness and fear were revealed.

I am always drawn to themes that are spiritual in nature, but I also know that one’s beliefs, whether philosophical, religious or political, are rarely overturned by coercion or power absent of compassion. Instead of using the screen to preach answers at the audience, I always hope my films “flip the lens” and draw the viewer into honest questions for themselves. In NORMIE that question is––What gives a person value? Or better yet––What gives you value?

Since one of my goals is to make films that challenge our preconceived notions, I resolve to remain openhanded, beginning with a broad concept, but allowing the production process itself to unfold and morph the story. Working with a very limited budget allowed us to fully embrace filming opportunities as they organically developed. By using every opportunity to film the main character, Annemarie, we discovered prominent themes and nagging questions that were in sync with the gravity of the overarching subject.

The experience I am most trying to communicate with NORMIE is that of wonder. My style as a filmmaker is to reveal the magic and beauty of the natural world in a way that draws people into a spiritual experience. The natural sciences can explain the diverse shape of snowflakes, the color of wildflowers and the trajectory of the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, but it cannot explain an individual’s awe or admiration. This imagery brings intimacy to the frame, while the specific struggles in Annemarie’s life, her genuine connections, and the real humor give the film an authenticity that I hope will make it emotionally powerful and relevant for all kinds of people.