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I Am Maris
I Am Maris/ Standing Still | Still Standing
Documentary Feature
54 minutes
2018
Director(s): Laura VanZee Taylor
USA
Sun 3:40 PM Ashland Street Cinema RUSH
Synopsis
U.S. Premiere 

Maris Degener is an old soul born from the strength of a young, fighting spirit. She’s a yogi; she’s a teacher; she’s an inspiration to her students, to the young people she mentors, and to the thousands who follow her online. And she’s only 17. Suffering from anxiety and depression for most of her young life, Maris is hospitalized for life-threatening anorexia nervosa. Her recovery is illustrated through vivid animated sequences, her own haunting artwork, and candid interviews with friends, parents, and her therapist. Fearlessly confronting buried emotions, Maris travels from despair to self-acceptance. A meaningful film for families confronting difficult issues with their teenage kids—and for all of us to gain insight into a life-affirming transformation. 
Director’s Statement 

Maris was known in my small community for being a “perfect” kid. When I first came across her artwork, I saw her emotional pain. Having suffered from anxiety and depression as a young woman myself, I was compelled to reach out to Maris and her mom. They revealed to me a breathtaking story of triumph. Too often, stories about eating disorders focus on scandal, emaciated bodies, “crazy” behaviors, and damaging repercussions. I wanted to tell a story of hope and healing. Maris demonstrates that mental illness is not a weakness, but a catalyst for building strength, spirit, and empathy. 
Playing with ...
I Am Maris/ Standing Still | Still Standing
Documentary Short
39 minutes
2017
Director(s): Andrew Walton
USA
Sun 3:40 PM Ashland Street Cinema RUSH
Synopsis
Oregon Premiere

Experience the real-time transformations of three people for whom Matthew Sanford, a charismatic paraplegic yoga instructor with an unconventional practice, is a last hope. Yoga has been studied and embraced as transformative for millenia. But yoga practiced this way—by the injured, infirm, emotionally lost—and taught by someone who can only move half of his body, is radical. A moving, joyful journey of recovery. 
Director’s Statement 

I love telling transformation stories. Standing Still | Still Standing encourages us to think beyond typical categories of ability vs. disability or good fortune vs. bad luck,
opening us all up to greater possibilities than we have ever considered before. Watching Matthew and his students will encourage all of us to find the determination, confidence, and strength to take on what might seem impossible. 
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