DEMENTIALAND SHORT FILM: NATALINA WOODS
"It was a topsy-turvy place of secrets and discovery where I often found myself inside the mirror of dementia. Its reverse-ness showed me the other side of everything and the other side of myself. I learned to see my mother with eyes opend and not curtained my her motherhood."
My name is Suzka. I am an artist, a painter and author, obsessed with a story that needed to be written, so I wrote it. The story is about an artist who leaves her Bohemian life, living in a converted warehouse in California and moves to Chicago to take care of her church-going, game-show aficionado mother (Violet). Together they live in a place called Dementialand™. Identities are soon dismantled as both become part of an oddball cast one would expect to see in a Fellini or Harry Potter movie. The Wonders In Dementialand shows a kinder and reverse look at dementia.
BOOK-TO-MOVIE: The book Wonders In Dementialand was selected by the American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica for me to pitch at their book-to-movie forum. It was Dementialand’s first introduction to the film industry. It received an overwhelming response as well as the brilliant German producer Radek Wegrzyn who wanted to make it into a movie. The script’s first draft was written, a trailer was in the works… then came the pandemic, Covid and a return of my cancer. Everything was canceled. I was devastated but not broken. The AFM experience made me realize the enormity of the subject and how important it is to tell this story.
There is a place not mentioned in any travel magazines or listed in any search engine under top spot for summer travelers. But this growing world wide destination offers a compelling reason to visit. Maybe part of its fascination is their unfaithfulness to the status quo or possibly, it’s the Gypsy Sundowners who simply pop-in unannounced. For whatever reason, this destination has a lot to offer. Another wonder found in Dementialand - a vacation spot for Sundowners. Enjoy.
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Check out Episode 7
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Check out Episode 26
A touching story about charm, enchantment and the magical spells of Natalina Woods
Natalina Woods is a delightful story about a Sundowning Gypsy who visits Violet in the middle of the night. Violet has dementia and is caught off guard by the nighttime visitor. Violet harshly tells her visitor, “If you’re here to rob me, you’re at the wrong house. You wanna go next door.”
The lady visitor introduces herself and tells Violet she is named after the very famous American gypsy actress Natalina Woods. Natalina comes from a line of premium gypsy descendants, card readers, palmists and fortune tellers. She brings with her music, bangles and a delight in the unknown.
The Gypsy lady comforts Violet and advises her to forget all this remembering. “The only thing worse and more painful than being a forgetter, is to be a much burdened rememberer.” Natalina continues and reads Violet’s palm, telling her that she will be crossing the border soon. There she will meet a young man, a new lover.
Natalina Woods is the first short film in the Dementialand series adapted from the book Wonders In Dementialand . You can be part of this film project and be included in the film’s list of credits by contributing to the Natalina Woods Dementialand Short Film Fund.