Noe Valley Voice June 2013

Local Filmmaker Addresses Alzheimer’s

By Heather World

Noe Valley filmmaker Barbara Klutinis has turned her lens on the muddled and painful world of Alzheimer’s disease, interviewing couples affected by a partner’s diagnosis as they come to terms with their changing roles.

“As a society we’re terrified of it,” Klutinis says. Yet as the population lives longer, the disease grows more common. “It’s important we bring it out of the closet.”

Driven by her husband’s diagnosis three years ago, Klutinis initially sought to make an experimental film of what she thought might be going on in his mind. “I started out with those images,” she said. When the couple joined a support group, she realized the film would be more.

“I felt like I was privy to such intimate conversations and processes going on in the group, with people dealing with this at all different ­levels,” she said.

The Sum Total of Our Memory features interviews with three couples from Klutinis’s support group, including Noe Valley real estate manager Joel Panzer and his wife Janet.

Though the film already has a half-dozen screenings scheduled, the picture is not complete. Klutinis was urged to interview medical professionals to give more information about the disease, and she is now enlarging the film.

“Sometimes you think you’re finished and something happens and you discover you’re not finished,” said Klutinis, a former teacher of film studies at Skyline College and San Francisco State University whose last work was Stepping Into the Stream, a documentary about women fly-­fishers.

The 30-minute Sum Total will be shown three times during DocFest, the San Francisco documentary film festival: Saturday, June 8, at 3 p.m. and Wednesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., and Sunday, June 9, at 7 p.m. at the Balboa Theatre, 3630 Balboa St.

It will appear in the Legacy Film Festival on Aging Sunday, June 9, at 1 p.m. (followed by a question-and-answer period) in the Coppola Audi­torium at San Francisco State University. Finally, it will run daily July 3 to 7 during the Marin County International Festival of Short Film and Video on the Marin County Fairgrounds.

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