Documentaries can be insightful, educational, uplifting, boring and even tedious … and then sometimes there is that rare documentary film that comes along that absolutely grabs you by the heart. Touches you. There is such a film coming your way on June 23, so mark your calendar, you are going to want to catch this inspirational gem on DVD.
Indican Pictures announced this past week that documentary filmmaker Cary Bell’s Butterfly Girl will making its domestic DVD debut on that date.
Abigail Evans has been dealt a raw deal in life’s casino. She suffers from Epidermolysis bullosa (aka: EB), a rare (genetic) skin disease that leaves the inflicted with chronic bruising and blistering (and more, much more, but the disease itself is not what the film is about).
The title, Butterfly Girl, refers to the ultra-sensitivity of the skin; as fragile as a butterfly’s wing ... and you would think that the chronic pain and disfiguring nature of the disease would eat at a person and drag them down. Not so with Abigail Evans, she’s a teenage and EB hasn’t let it beat her. She’s doesn’t sit at home, alone, afraid and cut-off from the world. Instead, she lives life as fully as she can.
Indeed, if one walked into a screening of Butterfly Girl a few minutes into the film — without a clue as to what you were watching (sort of like channel-flipping), you might think that you were actually watching a slice-of-life film and not a documentary at all. Who is this attractive young actress, blessed with a wicked sense of humor and how did the filmmakers design the prosthetics for her hands and feet? You are drawn in, hooked … emotionally-invested in her “performance.”
Cary Bell has masterfully blended dramatic storytelling within the framework of a documentary. If the resulting story was not open — even “entertaining” — and inviting, then it wouldn’t be worth watching. It would just be “oh poor Abigail,” and that’s not who this person is.
We learn of her life from her father, John Evans, a composer and musician (two of his songs are featured in writer/director Shana Feste’s 2010 film release of Country Strong — starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw — “Take Me Away” and “Turn Loose All the Horses”). She often travels with him to his gigs and there is some terrific footage of her just hanging out and enjoying herself, which is presented counter-point to her seemingly endless rounds at doctor’s offices, hospitals and clinics.
So come spend some time with filmmaker Cary Bell and her friend Abigail Evans on June 23, you will not regret it. Her hands are not pretty (no nails to polish), her speech is lisp-like (symptomatic of EB), but her heart is pure gold and her spirit will lift you to the heavens … as if on butterfly wings.