"We can do no great things; only small things with great love."
When you care for a loved one with Alzheimer's it is a joy to be there when their true selves are revealed in short bursts of clarity that bring forth memories they have of when they were full and complete.
I am so grateful to have had Shirley Schriftman as my mom. While caring for her in her final weeks with Alzheimer's, I began to make notes about the life that she had and the life she gave to her children and to the person she was to her friends, family and all the people she touched.
In the days and weeks and months following her death, the memories flooded out on paper. I never had writer's block. That is because I lived the story and remembered it all. I decided to write a book in her memory and in her honor. My Million Dollar Mom is a collection of true stories, true events and life lessons that I wanted to share with others.
Soon after the book was published I began to imagine a film version of the story. Writing a book is very different than writing a script for a feature film. Studying the art and science of screenwriting is both challenging and fascinating. It is the process of putting to paper what a story will look like, feel like and sound like after the professional actors, crew and technicians turn the whole idea into a magical vision.
And so I began. After finishing the script I explored various options to make the project come to life. I decided to create the film independently. Since this is my personal story about my mom and the relationship we had, I needed to make sure that the final product will be as true as possible to the real life characters and events that drove me to this project in the first place.
Although Alzheimer's is the challenge that is faced by mother and son, this is more of a story of how two people care for one another and the ups and downs of life. Mom and I were involved in so many things. The scenes the audience will experience include politics, marathon running, dancing, Jewish holidays, dogs, cats, kids, excitement, disappointments and triumphs.
Our film will help audiences recognize that people have value no matter how old, feeble or damaged they may be. We hope to change attitudes about Alzheimer's by demonstrating that deep inside those afflicted with this disease can still be the same caring people they always were and that they are capable of helping others at their time of need.
I am so pleased that Rose Glaeser has agreed to direct our film. Rose has extensive experience behind the camera and directing. She is also a screenwriter as well.
We plan to produce a high quality film that it is endearing, funny at times, and thought provoking. We believe audiences will see their own life struggles in the characters and will be able to relate. Our goal is to make a film that has a profound message and can help an important cause. So, a son, a mom, a decision. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll cheer. Bring tissues.
Ross Farley Schriftman
P.S. I got my middle name because my mom loved movies and liked the actor Farley Granger. Mom left me an extensive film library; the result of her efforts categorizing movies in her later years. My last name actually means script man.