After being nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival with their documentary Finders Keepers, director Clay Tweel and producer Seth Gordon are back this year with Gleason, a documentary about former New Orleans Saints NFL player Steve Gleason.
On the field, Gleason made his mark with his blocked punt during a 2006 game, which became a symbol of recovery for the city during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, in 2011, Gleason was diagnosed at age 34 with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He promptly began recording videos of his struggle for his son Rivers, and over four years Gleason’s gradual paralysis was documented. Today, the NFL champ is confined to a wheelchair and uses eye-tracking technology to type words spoken by a computer. Gleason’s wife, Michel, told the AP the film offers “a good picture of how brutal the disease is and how difficult it is for the person who has the disease and also the people all around.”
Tweel and Gordon came through Deadline’s Sundance studio in partnership with Samsung today to discuss the origins of their emotionally gripping project. The film premieres Saturday at 11:30 AM at The Marc with multiple screenings throughout the week.
Watch the video above.