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THE GENIUS OF MARIAN follows Pam White in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease as her son, the filmmaker, documents her struggles to hang on to her sense of self by remembering her mother — the renowned artist Marian Williams Steel. The film starts following Pam a few months after her diagnosis at age 61. Day-by-day change is slow, month-by-month it's noticeable and year by year it's devastating. The film itself is a powerful and emotional work of art with many visual textures, including super 8 family films — spanning 60 years, Marian's paintings, and old photographs. THE GENIUS OF MARIAN is both an intimate look at a much-feared illness and a loving portrait of the meaning of family.


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The Filmmakers

Banker White Director/Producer

Banker White is a multi-disciplinary artist based in San Francisco. He is the director and producer of SIERRA LEONE'S REFUGEE ALL STARS, which tells the story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians. The film was nominated by the IDA for best feature in 2006; won grand jury awards at AFI Fest, Full Frame Film Festival and Human Rights Watch Film Festival; and earned audience awards at SXSW and Miami International Film Festival. It was also broadcast on POV in North America, HBO Latin America and NHK in Japan. Banker also founded WeOwnTV, a collaborative filmmaking and storytelling project based in Freetown, Sierra Leone. This project is supported by Creative Capital, Freedom to Create, the Bertha Foundation and the Bay Area Video Coalition.

Anna Fitch Co-Director, Producer

Anna Fitch is an Emmy award-winning director with a background in natural history filmmaking and a degree in Entomology. She has produced and directed documentaries for National Geographic Television, TLC, Channel Four (UK), and PBS. Awards and nominations include: an Emmy Award for Best Documentary Directing for BUGWORLD: WAR OF TWO WORLDS; a CINE special jury award for Best Environment and Natural Science Film for BUG ATTACK; and a VideoFest MCCLA Best Documentary award for MANMADE: THE BRA. Anna also directed the short narrative film, THE BURNING WIGS OF SEDITION (2010), featuring the Extra Action Marching Band.

Festivals & Awards

Tribeca Film Festival


Official Selection

Hot Docs International Film Festival


Official Selection

Camden International Film Festival


Winner - Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature

AFI Docs


Official Selection

Washington West Int’l Film Festival


Winner - Grand Jury Award

Moscow Int’l Film Festival


Official Selection

Heartland Int’l Film Festival


Winner - Festival Award


More than just a personal memoir, the film aspires to poetry”

-Boston Globe

It’s remarkable film, not only for the obvious affection with which it was made, but as art.”


A touching accomplishment in documentary cinema.”

-NY Film Examiner

You won't want to miss it. ”

-Huffington Post