Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Award winning US film crew to document Mount Kinabalu climb

KOTA KINABALU: Coalition Duchenne, a leading charity raising funding and awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne), will climb Mount Kinabalu as part of its second annual Expedition Mount Kinabalu on August 24-26.

An award winning documentary team from Dreamquest Productions will accompany the international team of 60 climbers, led by the Coalition Duchenne founder Catherine Jayasuriya, whose grandmother was a Kadazandusun and whose 19-year-old son Dusty Brandom has Duchenne.

The documentary, which has the working title “Dusty’s Trail – The Summit of Borneo,” catalogs the inspirational life of Dusty, a young man with Duchenne, and his family’s quest to raise global awareness about the disease.

It is being produced by Present Moment Yogi Productions, a fledgling Californian production company. Filming began in California in July 2012.

The team will be filming at locations in and around Kota Kinabalu and the Kinabalu Park August 19 through September 2.

“Sabah is my home, and it is also a wonderful filming location,” said Catherine. “It has tremendous beauty, a deep cultural diversity, and caring people. Last year, so many Sabahans embraced our cause and our inaugural event. This year, we are excited to return with a film crew and a bigger expedition. Sabah is truly a place where the world can come together to bring change.”

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a progressive muscle wasting disease. It is the most common fatal disease that affects children. Duchenne occurs in 1 in 3,500 male births, across all races, cultures and countries. In Duchenne muscle cells quicklybecome unstable and lose their functionality. Life expectancy ranges from the mid teenage years to the mid 20’s. Minds are unaffected by Duchenne.

“Twenty thousand boys are born each year with Duchenne, more than

50 each day. There are many cases in Malaysia. Most only live into their 20s. We lose many in their teens,” said Catherine. “We need to focus on changing the course of the disease. ‘Dusty’s Trail’ will raise awareness and help fulfill our mission to bring humanity together to find a cure for Duchenne.”

The award winning team from DreamQuest Productions is donating its time to help Catherine fulfill her mission. DreamQuest has over 30 years of experience in the film and television industry. The company produces outdoor adventure shows for network and cable broadcasts and documentary films.

DreamQuest specialises in extreme production environments like the Everest base camp; the 120 degree heat of California’s Death Valley; under the sea 40 meters deep on a sunken freighter in Truk, Micronesia; the icy extremes of Alaska; or the humid jungles of Indonesia.

The leader of the documentary team visiting Sabah is DreamQuest’s president Allan Smith, an award winning producer and director who started his career as a child actor at the age of six, being involved in such films as “Chinatown”, “Day of the Locust” and “They Only Kill Their Masters”.