At four years old, the family of Molly Thomas placed her in a Missouri institution for the developmentally disabled. Fifty-eight years later her siblings moved her from the facility into a home in the community.
Her journey was documented in a film produced by Kelly Gregory and Thom Pancella, both of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Now, that documentary, “Good Golly Miss Molly! A Family’s Transition Story,” is garnering international attention. It will be screened Feb. 12 at the 13th annual Picture This… Film Festival in Calgary, Canada. It’s Canada’s largest film festival devoted to productions by and/or about persons with disabilities.
“Molly may not be able to speak for herself, but she has a terrific story, and it’s an honor to share it with the world,” said Pancella, a UMSL alumnus, BA English 1990, who is a project director at MIMH and was part of the production team.
“The film lets you meet Molly, her family and her caregivers, and the production team learned a great deal from the experience,” said Gregory, senior multimedia specialist at MIMH. “Molly’s disability may make you think she can’t communicate, but from the very first I was convinced that she has very definite ideas, likes and dislikes, and tries her best to make them known.”
Gregory and Pancella will both be in Calgary for the screening.
The film took about a year to make, most of the shooting was done in 2009 and early 2010. In 2012, three years after Thomas transitioned to community living, Pancella and Gregory produced a three-year follow-up documentary “Beyond Expectations…the Continuing Story of Molly Thomas.” Both films were funded by the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council.
People can view both films at www.MIMHTraining.com/Molly.
Click here or below to view the MIMH documentary “Good Golly Miss Molly! A Family’s Transition Story.”