The film features a number of intense and moving scenes with the three Parkinson’s patients. In one clip, a neurologist checks in with Brian’s brain implant. The neurologist watches closely as Brian explains the methods he has developed for drinking a cup of tea without spilling the hot liquid. In another, Tom receives a lifetime achievement award at Abbey Theatre from the president of Ireland, with all proceeds going to Parkinson’s Association of Ireland. A third scene sees Milena eating ice-cream by the sea with her granddaughter as she recounts her journey from her native country of Croatia to her home in Ireland, beginning during World War Two. These stand alongside insightful and fascinating scenes in the laboratories with Dr Dowd and her team of researchers, as they embark on an enormous mission of developing a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.
Based in Dublin, Mia Mullarkey has shown her work on RTE, TG4, Virgin Media TV, France24, ShortsTV USA, Mubi, Discover.film and Sky UK. Alice McDowell is an Australian documentary filmmaker currently living in Galway. With a focus on art, human rights and diversity, she has produced, directed and edited films locally and internationally. Since its launch, Feats of Modest Valour has received international recognition. In 2017, the film won the prestigious Top Scientist Award at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York (awarded by the leading international science journal, Science, and its publisher, the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS]). The select jury included Nobel prize-winning scientist, Professor Martin Chalfe and award-winning science columnist for the New York Times, Professor Carl Zimmer.
Reflecting on the experience, McDowell says, “It’s a testament to the collision of art and science when you try to make something that is artistic and human and allows you to delve into the scientific world to create something that resonates with audiences.”
On the lasting impact to her work, O’Dowd says, “To have a film like this that makes the science publicly accessible, has meant that I’ve been able to have a lot more interaction with people that live with Parkinson’s, with Parkinson’s Ireland, and Young Parkinson’s Ireland. Now that we have this film, I can easily take my research to their groups and use it as a forum. It has been a long-term benefit to my work.”