“LUKi & The Lights” Animated Short Film Illuminates ALS Diagnosis for Young Audiences

Global Premiere Set for March 22 at Cinema Village in Greenwich Village, NYC

ARLINGTON, Va., March 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — “LUKi & The Lights,” an animated short film aimed at helping young audiences understand and cope with the complexities of ALS, will make its public premiere at Cinema Village in New York City on March 22. Created by Sascha Groen and her husband, Anjo Snijders, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2017 at the age of 35, “LUKi & The Lights” follows the journey of LUKi, a charming robot who navigates life after being diagnosed with ALS, an always fatal neurodegenerative disease that does not have a cure. The film leverages the power of animation to tell the story of LUKi and his friends, which makes it easy for children in any culture to understand. Through the evocative power of animation, the film transcends language barriers, allowing children worldwide to grasp the devastating nature of ALS.


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“A lot of parents have difficulties talking to their children about a terminal diagnosis, and we wanted to help them explain it and also show them that it’s okay to discuss ALS with children,” said Snijders. He and his wife Sascha realized the need for resources to explain ALS to their own children after his diagnosis.

Produced by Big Grin Productions, Global Neuro YCare, and the ALS Association, “LUKi & The Lights” aims to empower children and parents to discuss ALS openly and provide them with the tools to navigate the difficult conversations surrounding the terminal illness.

“In the process of creating ‘LUKi & The Lights,’ our team delved deep into understanding ALS, its impact, and the experiences of those affected by it,” said Toby Cochran, director and founder of Big Grin Productions. “Our goal was to create a film that not only entertains but also educates, offering a genuine portrayal of ALS for audiences worldwide.”

“We want to bridge the gap between children and parents, providing them with the words and understanding to discuss ALS,” said Melinda S. Kavanaugh, PhD, LCSW, President of Global Neuro YCare, content expert and co-producer. “LUKi is designed to be relatable to children of all backgrounds, offering a universal message of hope and understanding. LUKi shows both children and adults, how ALS progresses, in an easy to understand and highly visual way.”

The premiere of “LUKi & The Lights” at Cinema Village promises to be a memorable event, bringing together filmmakers, ALS advocates, and members of the arts and entertainment community to celebrate the power of storytelling while raising awareness around this much misunderstood, rare disease.

“We are excited to bring Anjo’s vision and Big Grin’s beautiful animation of LUKi to audiences around the world,” said Calaneet Balas, president and CEO of the ALS Association. “We have already seen the tremendous reception the film has received both within the film and ALS communities. We are confident this film will change lives.”

The film has been selected for prestigious screenings at the Oscar®-qualifying Florida Film Festival and Los Angeles International Children’s Film Festival and will be open to the public from March 23 to March 29. During this time, audiences of all ages will have the opportunity to experience the heartfelt story of LUKi and his journey with ALS.

About ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Over the course of the disease, people lose the ability to move, to speak, and eventually, to breathe. On average, it takes about a year before a final ALS diagnosis is made. The disease is always fatal, usually within five years of diagnosis. There is currently no cure.

About Big Grin Productions

Big Grin Productions (BGP) is a pioneering animation studio with a mission of putting big ol’ GRINS on people’s faces by creating heartfelt stories, memorable characters, and captivating entertainment. Frequently sought out by Fortune 500 companies, award-winning directors, and commercial agencies, BGP’s global team doesn’t simply animate; it forges emotional connections through universal stories that turn audiences into advocates and characters into icons.

About Global Neuro YCare

Global Neuro YCare (GNYC) is the only global organization focused on children, youth and families living with and providing care for someone with a Neurological disorder. Informed by research and clinical practice, Global Neuro YCare creates and translates educational materials, programs, and supports creating an accessible world for families living with Neurological disorders and the health care providers who care for them.

The ALS Association

The ALS Association is the largest ALS organization in the world. The ALS Association funds global research collaborations, assists people with ALS and their families through its nationwide network of care and certified clinical care centers, and advocates for better public policies for people with ALS. The ALS Association is working to make ALS a livable disease while urgently searching for new treatments and a cure. For more information about the ALS Association, visit our website at www.als.org.

SOURCE The ALS Association

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/luki–the-lights-animated-short-film-illuminates-als-diagnosis-for-young-audiences-302083620.html

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