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by Karen Pecota

Patrick Longstreth, USA 2022

Under the direction of documentary filmmaker Patrick Longstreth comes a story for the viewing audience in the Slamdance Film Festival Unstoppable program featuring Jazmine Faries and her family in IRON FAMILY.

Jazmine is a 32-year-old woman with Down syndrome. She is obsessed with soap operas, Barbie dolls, and the actor Matthew McConaughey. Jazmine is attracted to the arts and its people because she too has a talent for scriptwriting.

For the past five summers, Jazmine and her family have performed her original screenplays for a small audience in their town of Iron River, Michigan. Longstreth shadows the whole family getting ready for the upcoming performances for Jazmine's play in its sixth season. Longstreth follows the family, the town's people, Jazmine's creative writing process, the play rehearsals, and the live-theatre performances.

Longstreth depicts the strength of the family bonds between her brother, Chad and her mother, Kate, as they are put to the test by the mishaps and chaos of coordinating a production with limited resources. Along the way we see Jazmine's personal struggle for independence, her yearning for a romantic partner, and how a single spark of creativity can spread joy throughout a community.

An event their community looks forward to every summer, Jazmine's sixth season’s play is called The Double Life. Based on her real-life experiences, it's about a young girl trying to find her place in the world. It's a reality-bites drama adding romance and comedy which Jazmine is not afraid to share with her audience because of her talent in storytelling.