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Up Syndrome (2007)

Rene Moreno , Duane Graves  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Price: $24.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Rene Moreno
  • Directors: Duane Graves
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Victory Audio/Video Services
  • DVD Release Date: April 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OQDX4K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,131 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Up Syndrome" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

About the Director

Texas-born Duane Graves arrived on the independent film scene shortly after graduating from a TV/Film program at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas. He made his directing debut in 2000 with the critically-acclaimed feature documentary Up Syndrome, which embarked on a year-long tour of film festivals around the globe and garnered international press. While continuing film studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Graves co-founded and continues to operate his own production company, Greeks Productions. Graves has been awarded with numerous film festival accolades including Best Documentary honors at the 2001 Brooklyn International Film Festival, 2000 Fort Worth Film Festival and the 2000 Temecula Valley International Film Festival. He also received a Best Editing nod for Up Syndrome at the 2001 Brooklyn International Film Festival and a Grand Jury nomination at the 2001 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Most recently, Graves accepted the National Media Award - Video from the National Down Syndrome Congress in August, 2002. To date, Graves' work has been featured in over ten international film festivals including Los Angeles, New York, Park City, Austin, Dallas and Berlin. He was awarded a Texas Filmmaker Production Fund grant in August, 2001, and has been interviewed or reviewed in publications such as Variety, Guerrilla Filmmaker, Indie Slate, Indie Vision, Film Threat and Style & the Family Tunes, a pop-culture magazine in Germany. Graves also sat on a screenwriting panel with Philip Stark (Dude, Where's My Car?) and Clay Tarver (Joy Ride) at the 2002 CineSA Film Focus in San Antonio, Texas. In the fall of 2001, Graves finished production on a black and white 16mm experimental short film titled HEADCHEESE with collaborator and fellow film school peer Justin Meeks. HEADCHEESE was co-produced by Kim Henkel, scribe of the original seminal horror film The Texas Chain Saw Masscare and the critically-acclaimed indy gem Last Night At the Alamo. The short screened in several film festivals and was recently acquired by EI Independent Cinema for a January 2003 DVD release with the feature horror film Freak by Tyler Tharpe. HEADCHEESE was also featured in Cult Movies magazine and Shock Cinema magazine, which described Graves' cinematography as having the "gritty backwoods atmosphere of some lost grindhouse classic." Graves is currently working in Austin, Texas, and has written or co-written two feature-length scripts: a coming-of-age comedy set in the '80's titled Thunderbird Hills which advanced to the final round of the Sundance Institute's 2007 Feature Film Program Labs, as well as a horror/thriller titled The Wild Man of the Navidad with co-writer Justin Meeks, currently in post-production under Greeks Productions, Inc. The collaborators recently completed another comedy short titled Rio Peligroso: A Day in the Life of a Legendary Coyote, which director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) describes as an "antic, hysterical" film. Rio won Round 1 of Smith's Movies Askew short film contest, and will be widely released on two DVD's in 2008.

Product Description

In Up Syndrome, written, produced, directed and edited by Duane Graves while he was still a University of Texas student, Graves returned to his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, to shoot more than a year's worth of footage with one of his childhood chums, a 23-year-old with Down Syndrome named Rene Moreno. What makes Up Syndrome such a minor miracle is that unlike documentaries about the developmentally disabled such as Best Boy, it plunges through sentiment and sadness to locate the personality of people who are often blurred into angelic smudges. Never institutionalized, Moreno grew up with "normal" boys and absorbed their habits - popcorn, girls, slasher flics, basketball, toy guns and more. That would seem ideal, but when he reaches young adulthood, he's so smart and confident that he's baffled at the category other adults place him in - Moreno is bewildered that he can't do what other men his age can. Graves' technical mastery of the digital video camera has us ricochet between moments of sadness, when Moreno is fired from his grocery bagging job, to lunacy, when he fakes a violent death after a mock shootout.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can you be Down if you enjoy life so much... July 16, 2007
By R. Reed
I have a child with Down Syndrome and when she was born, I researched a lot of literature about what to expect as she got older. Naturally as a parent I worried about what kind of life she would have. Would others shun her or make fun of her. Would she even be happy? Enter Duane Graves' "Up Syndrome". This is a documentary of a few days in the life of his childhood friend Rene Moreno. Frequently I find documentaries to be slow paced and not very engaging but I was immediately drawn into the world of Rene. I was struck by the clear fact that though Rene has a disability he also has all of the same concerns of many other adults his age. Girlfriend troubles, problems on the job and with the boss, what to do in his spare time, will his favorite basketball team win the championship, what will it be like when he becomes an uncle to his older sister's child. All the while having fun and showing a complete lack of concern of how the rest of the world sees him.

Rather than downplaying the disability (no pun intended), Rene and Duane celebrate it. Rene can laugh at himself and his friends and Duane does an excellent job of tackling a touchy subject head-on with humor and affection. It was a refreshing and, frankly, encouraging portrait of Down Syndrome and it helped me to celebrate the traits that make my own daughter unique.

Anybody curious about Down Syndrome here is the ultimate reality show. Anybody who loves a good documentary this is for you.

And lastly, anybody who is curious as to the secret identity behind Hot Dog Man....
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5.0 out of 5 stars awesome movie March 29, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I watch videos on youtube videos and clips from up syndrome and thought those videos was very impressive. I actually now Jesse Moreno from where he goes during the day and i acctually know him
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rene Moreno's Story Speaks Directly To The Human Heart October 18, 2010
Up Syndrome is a fascinating character profile with an unexpectedly powerful, humanizing effect on the viewer. It is an offering by director Duane Graves to share in the story of a year in the life of his childhood friend, Rene Moreno, who was born with the congenital development disorder "down syndrome."

Rene's life story, only a portion of which is encapsulated in the short-form of this documentary, is instructive and heartwarming. There are many really great moments in which the viewer gets to share something special - a perspective largely missing from modern media libraries.

It highlights the need to advocate for inclusiveness and dignity for all members of society caught up in a world that has been speeding up and growing less and less patient. Let this little film into your life for fifty-nine minutes, and just see if it doesn't do for you what it did for me: it mesmerized me, and while I wasn't paying attention, it grabbed my heart and started playing it like a toy piano: with great joy and imagination.
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