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The Independent Critic

The Krakowiak Family
Dave Adams
Matt Cascella
30 Mins.

 "The Unconditional" Screens as Finalist at Inaugural Indy Shorts  

You will fall in love with the Krakowiak family. 

You will fall in love with Colbie, age 8, and Lleyton, age 5, two precious young children whose brain scans are 100% normal and yet whose daily lives are impacted by a debilitating disorder that has prevented both of them from ever speaking a word or walking a step without assistance. Both children lack fine motor skills, struggling with structural issues as they age. 

Yet, both children remain undiagnosed. 

Having been through the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program, both Colbie and Lleyton have had their full genome sequenced without finding any official answers or diagnosis beyond two individual genetic mutations. Without a diagnosis to work with, the Krakowiaks struggle to obtain the needed funding for Colbie and Lleyton because there's no official "box to check," a practical necessity in a bureaucratic world that needs those boxes checked. 

You will also fall in love with Heath and Mariel, parents to Colbie and Lleyton and best friends since the age of 15. The two have seemingly settled into a routine, a way of life that works and a way of life for which they are able to offer both gratitude and quiet grief for, as Mariel said, having those times when it feels as if they are more caregivers than parents. You will fall in love with their refreshing honesty, not often found in films such as this one, but you will also fall in love with their love that is unconditional. 

Finally, of course, there is the film itself. You will fall in love with The Unconditional, a 30-minute unflinching look into the lives of Colbie and Lleyton and Heath and Mariel and their joys and sorrows, challenges and triumphs. You will fall in love with the way that director Dave Adams has constructed the film, a symphony of human emotion and heart and experience all wrapped up into one that reflects, in many ways, the music that is so vital to Colbie's existence and everyday peace. 

Featuring music by Andrew Bird, Lo-Fang, Beethoven, Bach, Blair Brothers, and The Music Bed, The Unconditional immerses itself in remarkable depth of emotion without ever wallowing in misery or sorrow. Beautifully lensed by Adams himself, The Unconditional is nearly impossible to get through without shedding a tear of joy and a tear of sorrow. 

The film has already proven to be popular on the film fest circuit with screenings at Cleveland International Film Festival, HollyShorts, and NHDocs and is screening here in Indy as a finalist within the Finalist Shorts 1 Collection with screenings:

  • Friday, July 27th at 7pm inside DeBoest Lecture Hall at Newfields
  • Saturday, July 28th at 12:45pm inside The Toby, also at Newfields

For more information on Indy Shorts, visit the Indy Shorts website. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic