Independent Lens: Mimi and Dona

Independent Lens: Mimi and Dona

Sat, 01/13/2018 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm

What happens when love runs out of time?  For 92-year-old Mimi, who has spent her life caring for 64-year-old Dona, a daughter with an intellectual disability, it means facing the inevitable.

The likelihood that Mimi will not outlive her daughter and the need to find her a new home. This poignant, heartbreaking, and sometimes humorous documentary traces the story of a wonderfully quirky and deeply connected mother-daughter duo — filmmaker Sophie Sartain’s grandmother and aunt. Independent Lens: Mimi and Dona airs Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 5 p.m. on WXXI-TV as part of WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies' Dialogue in Disability initiative. The initiative is designed stimulate dialogue about people with disabilities and motivate us to be a more inclusive community.

Since Mimi Thornton’s husband died in 1968, she has lived with her daughter Dona in their suburban home in Dallas. Dona has an intellectual disability and possibly undiagnosed autism. Over the years, Mimi and Dona have carved out a happy life for themselves, one filled with errands, church, weekly visits to the beauty parlor, and nightly doses of Wheel of Fortune. Frozen in time, they have lived off their Social Security checks, inside the same four walls, for forty years. But Mimi and Dona's symbiotic existence is about to end. Mimi’s family has decided that she can no longer care for Dona, and Dona must leave home to live in a state-run institution. After 64 years, Mimi will have an empty nest and Dona will suddenly be on her own.

This  program is part of Dialogue on Disability, a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies designed to stimulate community dialogue about the perspectives and abilities of people with physical and intellectual disabilities. During the week-long initiative, which runs January 8 through January 14, 2018, WXXI presents special programming on TV, radio, and at the Little Theatre.

Dialogue on Disability is made possible through support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation. The partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies is supported by the Golisano Foundation and Move to Include, a project designed to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.