Fashion designer Joe Jervis suffers from Ataxia. This is his story.

Fashion designer Joe Jervis suffers from Ataxia, a rare degenerative disease which rapidly degrades a persons speaking, muscle control and motor skills. People with Ataxia are often confused for being drunk due to their slurred speech and lack of muscle control.

The aim of this documentary was to raise awareness for Ataxia sufferers in order for the general public to understand and recognised the symptoms, which can often be confused for intoxicated and anti-social behaviour. The documentary was filmed in Milan, Italy, and comprises of two interviews from Joe Jervis and his mother, Nici Topham. This documentary was incredible project to undertake, with an interesting route of discovery.

Three weeks prior to filming the documentary, Joe Jervis had discovered my website online and contacted me in order to see if I would be interested in making a film on him. He told me about his Ataxia condition, and asked if I wanted to go to Milan with him and his mother in three weeks time in order to film him meeting fashion designers in order to try and meet industry professionals and integrate himself into the world of fashion, of which he aspires to work in. I immediately said yes, and three weeks later I met Joe and Nici for the first time at Standstead Airport, and off we went to Milan.

When we got there, the industry contacts that Joe had set up unfortunately fell through. We had a few interviews with companies and freelance clothing advisors, but nothing concrete enough to build a documentary around clothing and the Milan fashion scene. Therefore, I decided to concentrate the documentary on Joe and the relationship with Nici, his mother and also full time carer. In doing so I believe I created a succinct documentary which raises awareness of Ataxia whilst also exploring how family bonds and dynamics are strengthened in times of turmoil and uncertainty.

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