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This project was successfully funded on January 15, 2013


by Heather McHugh


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MacArthur Fellow and poet Heather McHugh, together with filmmaker Adam Larsen, are collaborating to create UNDERSUNG, a feature-length documentary celebrating and giving voice to one of the most under-sung of human communities: long-term full-time caregivers of disabled family members.

At a time when even the best-intentioned governors and legislators are hacking back funding for the disabled, the nation's family caregivers go largely unnoticed. These are people who have already given up their own life-dreams to do the daily grinding work that keeps family members out of institutions. Few in the country consider what we owe them, or choose to pay tribute to them. We hope to change that. 

Their stories can tell us much about the premises and meanings of love. UNDERSUNG will follow several long-term (decade or more) principal caregivers of severely disabled family members—before, during and after their one week CAREGIFTED retreats. (CAREGIFTED provides a week's relief to the weariest such caregivers.) 

During CAREGIFTED’S pilot project from 2012 to 2015 we will gather impressions and testimonies from home visits and all three caregiver-getaway sites (locations in Maine, California and the Pacific Northwest near Seattle).

In the conviction that there is common ground among artists, philanthropists and caregivers—and on the shared premise THE GIVER IS GIFTED (and gifted ones are givers too)—we are asking artists and audiences to consider the plight of these caregivers who are not able to find time, money, leisure or medium to make their voices heard.

Your contribution will fund nine weeks of the costs for documenting these UNDERSUNG heroes across the US and Canada, assembling testimonies and footage towards the documentary. We plan on spending three weeks with each caregiver (the retreat week, and one week each before and after). Your support goes towards artists' travel-- flights, car rentals, hotels; for most of this project we will donate our talents and time.

Any surplus donations go towards the filming of more caregivers—thus contribute to the depth and range of testimonies preserved on film.

Your support not only helps us get the stories out, but sends a message back to these long-term heavy-duty family caregivers: Their lives matter to the larger human family.

Please click here to watch the official trailer:

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