Checking In With Dani: Dani's Twins Film
We're so thrilled to have partnered with Dani Izzie and the whole team helping bring the film, Dani's Twins, to life. Today we're checking in with Dani to get the latest film updates, her thoughts on what it means to bring this story to life and an update on her family. And with that -- take it away, Dani!
the mm team
In April 2020, I gave birth to two beautiful twin girls. I was one of few paralyzed quadriplegic women in the States to have twins last year so when I had the chance to capture my pregnancy and early motherhood journey through a documentary film, “Dani’s Twins,” I didn’t hesitate. I knew that there was power in my story that needed to be shared. I was determined to tell this story from a place of truth and authenticity so that the world could understand what it means to be disabled and human.
To my delight in 2021, Magnetic Me stepped up and became one of the film’s earliest primary backers after we were temporarily thwarted by the pandemic. With their financial support, our independent documentary film in-the-making was able to carry on with post-production. During this phase, Directors Brad Allgood and Steve Dorst diligently edited and pieced together the footage creating an evocative, dramatic narrative, and we were able to hire Sam Ewing, an extraordinary composer who has scored Emmy-winning music, and who will give this poignant film the musical expression it deserves. We're currently submitting the film to top-tier film festivals around the country and working to put the finishing touches on color and audio as well.
A few weeks ago, Brad sent me a link to the fine cut of the film. This was my first time seeing the film in its entirety. It’s hard to explain how it feels to watch pivotal moments of your life play out on screen. I felt vulnerable, but I felt empowered, too, and I think that’s because I was given a tremendous amount of agency in how the film took shape. It would have been easy for the filmmakers to take my story and turn it into a hero narrative, or what everybody seems to crave when they think of disability storytelling - a tragedy, or a triumph, a tale of “overcoming.” What they put forth instead was representation, which kindled a much more nuanced, and genuine story. One that was reflective of the relatability of living with disability and starting a family. Yes, relatability. It’s a keyword and reaction that comes up often as we screen the film to small test audiences, and it’s a sentiment that challenges ingrained biases and misunderstandings about disability.
As I become more enmeshed in the filmmaking process and impact campaign, I have begun to take on a producer role, and have found myself working together closely with the lead producer, Angela Gentile and her daughter and production assistant, Ella Dorst. Ever since we wrapped up shooting, I’ve gone on to present webinars and advocate for disabled parents in collaboration with several disability organizations including the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, United Spinal, and Help Hope Live, where I encountered hundreds of disabled women looking for few-and-far between resources and support on family planning and pregnancy. Magnetic Me is the first private sector company that has helped us share the film’s messages on inclusion and normalizing disability with an even wider audience through their blog and Instagram.
As for me, Rudy, and our twins Lavinia and Giorgiana, we’ve made it through 18 months as new parents! We continue to figure out how to balance all our family’s needs. It’s incredible how often we just say, “Let’s wing it.” Within the chaos of the day to day and as our babies become opinionated toddlers, we are constantly adapting and re-adjusting our approach. My disability, while often posing logistical challenges, has actually prepared us to be flexible, resilient parents.