Quinnipiac students tackle tough topic for capstone project

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Film students at Quinnipiac University are closing out the fall semester by working on a capstone project that’s been six months in the making, so far.

“It touches a lot of people’s hearts and it’s something that needs to be told,” said Michael Bonavita, a senior at Quinnipiac who is working on the project along with four other classmates.

They decided to tackle a topic that’s not exactly easy by shooting a documentary that focuses on the lack of structure for disabled adults and how they stay active in the community. They had a couple different ideas, but their path would ultimately lead them to the Duplin Family of Newington and their 21 year old son, Patrick, who has Down Syndrome.

“I knew in my heart there’s no way there’s any other story,” said Bonavita.

The family has been very candid about what life has been like during all their interviews. From the pregnancy to current day. The short documentary is called “Behind the Curtains” and is meant to shine a light on what it’s like living in a society as a person with a disability. Also giving the perspective of the people around them, specifically family members. The piece is centered around Patrick and his progress.

“To me the most eye opening part of this project has been the parental aspect and the fact that Patrick’s dad’s retirement, is Patrick,” said Justin Gaccione, a senior also working on the project.

“It was certainly the budget not being passed,” said Bonavita. “That was the main thing. Our editor and I looked at each other and said whoa, I didn’t even realize that.” As Connecticut went months without a budget the Duplin family, and many others, were forced to go without the necessary resources. News 8 has learned from the family that funding is now available, meaning Patrick can take part in a day program with a job mentor.

The final screening of the project is set for the beginning of May. In the meantime, students are now trying to raise money in order to get their documentary produced and shown nationally. They are looking to raise $5,000. So far they’ve reached more than half of that goal. If you would like to help or want to watch the trailer for “Behind the Curtains”, click here.


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