I am a Sicilian freelance video journalist, who has been traveling for the past 13 years. I spent the last one in Argentina, and it was in Buenos Aires that I met Valeria and Lourdes, the most important encounter of 2014.
The day before I left Buenos Aires, at the end of 2014, Valeria surprised me asking to tell her story. And this is exactly what I want to do. For Valeria. For Lourdes. For all people affected by SMA. For their families. For all the people. For me.
Valeria is a 29-year-old Argentinian biologist and researcher, from Buenos Aires. The youngest of four children, she was soon diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease affecting the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement.
First she was supposed to live only 2 years, then 5, 8, 11, 14 and so forth, Valeria never stopped fighting for life. She spent many years traveling to get surgery and treatment. She keeps on studying to better understand her illness.
Due to her disease, Valeria needs care 24 hours a day. Nevertheless, she travels, she dances, she sings, she swims, she cooks, she dreams. And she always knew that one day or another she would become a mother.
That day came when Valeria was 26. Still studying and without a companion, she wasn’t looking for a baby at that time, but when it happened, she decided that she wanted absolutely to carry the pregnancy to term.
Valeria was told that her SMA made her pregnancy more dangerous for her and her baby, but she remained firm in her convictions and managed to face her family and the doctors to go ahead with it.
Against all predictions, in July 2013 Valeria gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby, Lourdes, the best gift of her life.
Today Lourdes is a lively, smiley, 18-month-old kid. Like most of her contemporaries, she is now taking her first steps. And Valeria, thanks to her daughter, is having a second chance to walk.
Below some samples of my work (shot with my Canon 60d and edited with Avid/Final Cut):
- Lampedusa, Italy / THE ISLAND DOCUMENTARY / A web documentary made in the aftermath of October 2013’s sinking, in which at least 366 would-be asylum seekers died: http://theislandocumentary.com
- Rio de Janeiro / International Interest in Rio’s Pacified Favelas (4min/ITALIAN - commissioned by doveviaggi.corriere.it): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjZPBeOtSeU&feature=youtu.be
- Paris / Fine Tea vs Fine Wine (2min/ENGLISH - Published by France 24 English and French Channels): https://vimeo.com/58016275
- Paris / Street Pianist (2,50 min/FRENCH - Published by France 24 English, French and Arabic Channels): https://vimeo.com/52349197
- Rio de Janeiro / Sustainable food project from a Pacified Favela in Rio (55 sec TEASER/ENGLISH - Not yet published): https://vimeo.com/68698862