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Press Release

AFTD Announces a Story of the Dementia Journey, Told by Those Living It

Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration
Posted on: 23 Nov 17

RADNOR, Pa., Nov. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The dementia journey is one of profound loss. Often lost can be the ability – or even the opportunity – to describe the experience directly.

VJ & Chuck, a powerful new short film by Joseph Becker and ThinkFilm, Inc., captures the impact of a prevalent young-onset form of dementia, frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), from the perspective of the person diagnosed. (Watch VJ & Chuck here:

The film focuses on VJ and Chuck Anastasia, a married couple living in Rhode Island. In 2013, VJ was diagnosed with FTD, a form of dementia that primarily affects movement, behavior, personality and language.

The changes brought on by FTD have forced VJ and Chuck to restructure their entire lives. But through good days and bad, they are able to draw strength from their decades-long bond.

"Joe's film artfully condenses 38 years of our lives to less than seven minutes," Chuck Anastasia said. "Filming it was deeply personal, and watching the finished production was a very emotional experience." 

Uniquely, VJ & Chuck is told from the perspective of a person diagnosed with FTD. While making his film, Becker – who previously produced the film It Is What It Is about four families affected by FTD – was informed by interviews with VJ and Chuck, other persons diagnosed and their loved ones. Teresa Webb, herself diagnosed with FTD, provides the voiceover.

"By drawing directly from the stories of persons diagnosed, VJ & Chuck captures dementia's progression in haunting fashion," said Sharon Denny, program director at the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD), the country's leading nonprofit focusing on FTD.

While advocating for a more hopeful future, the film also emphasizes the need for more attention to how individuals facing dementia need greater support today. "We hope VJ & Chuck will raise awareness about FTD, and help to dispel the stigma that is still associated with dementia," Chuck added.  

"AFTD encourages anyone whose lives have been touched by dementia to share this film," Denny said. "Widespread awareness will hasten forward a world in which FTD and all forms of dementia are effectively diagnosed, treated, prevented and ultimately cured."

Link to film:

The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration is the leading U.S. nonprofit working to improve life for people affected by FTD, and drive research to a cure. Visit or connect with us via or

Editor's Details

Mike Wood

Last updated on: 23/11/2017

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