"Either you’ve taken care of someone, you’re taking care of someone, you'll take care of someone or you'll be taken care of"
In 2005, my brother Juan was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and given three years to live. Since then, I have been documenting Juan and his family so that his two children could have memories of their father preserved. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized the footage I had collected of Juan and my family is a story that should be shared. Thus inspired the creation of “A Sacred Journey.” Many have asked how I have been able to separate the technical from the creative. The truth is, this documentary has been one of the most challenging and yet rewarding projects of my life. It’s a deeply personal story that not only follows my brother and family’s path of healing, but pushed me to face my own life choices. Sometimes we don’t know how valuable we are to one another until something happens. As Juan's body continued to weaken, his spirit grew stronger. For every step he lost, he gained courage. For every moment I pointed the camera on him, I gained compassion. Juan’s diagnosis forced me to awaken to my drug addiction and ignited me on a path to healing. It has given me a greater appreciation and understanding of the true meaning of life, and the true meaning of being brothers and friends. The twelfth step of recovery is to be of service. And these past four years I've dedicated to directing and producing this film has strengthened my sobriety. Now thirteen years sober with a completed film, I realize the true power of how art and love heal. If, after you watch my film, you hug a loved one tighter, then I’ve done my job.
When a young man’s family life is unexpectedly turned upside down by a terminal diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), his brother and best friend is forced to address his own shadow in this story of a family’s healing through love, art & community.
Ernesto hands Caregiver of the Year award to his parents.
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Los Angeles, California, United States