Synopsis: Following the untimely death of their father to Early Onset Alzheimer’s, the Bussell family grapples with the life-altering decision of whether or not to find out if they too carry the gene. Out of the family’s five children, Tristan Bussell, 36, is the only one who decides to take the DNA test. This uplifting documentary short focuses on how those test results profoundly change the way Tristan chooses to live his life.
I knew nothing about Early Onset Alzheimer’s when I first learned about Tristan’s story. But I was immediately struck by the ruthlessness of this genetic disease and how it’s passed down the family tree with each child having a 50-50 chance of developing Alzheimer’s at an early age. A flip of the coin determines your gene status—and your fate. For me, this begs the question: Would you want to know if you had the gene? And, if so, how would that information change the way you go on living the rest of your life? It was both an honor and a heavy responsibility once Tristan and his family let us in and trusted us to tell their story. — Mark Anders
RUSH STURGES is widely considered one of the world’s best kayakers, as well as a prominent action sports filmmaker. To date, he has created eight award winning whitewater kayaking films, including his debut feature documentary “Chasing Niagara” followed by “The River Runner” (available on Netflix). Rush studied film at The Art Institute of Vancouver, B.C., and has honed his filmmaking skills on location in some of the planet’s wildest places from Pakistan to China to the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2009, Rush founded River Roots, a media production house based in his adopted hometown of White Salmon, Washington.
Writer/Director MARK ANDERS began his career as a freelance journalist and photographer regularly contributing to a wide-range of outlets from Men’s Journal to Outside to Surfer and The Wall Street Journal. His first foray into the film world happened by chance while on assignment in Africa covering a whitewater expedition. There, Mark was invited to write the documentary CONGO: The Grand Inga Project, which went on to win Best Film at 2013 X-Dance Film Festival. Since then, Mark has written a handful of award-winning feature-length documentaries including Chasing Niagara and Blood Road.