Video Competition Judges
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The WPC 2016 Video Competition judges represent both the global Parkinson's community as well as the international film community. The judges will review all submissions and choose the prizes for the video competition including: The Grand Prize winner, First Prize winners for both categories, Second Prize winners for both categories and the Top 12 Videos.



Daniel Bissonette (Canada), Director, Montréal Film & Television Commission (MFTC) & care partner to his wife with Parkinson's disease

Irene Brodsky (USA), Oscar-nominated, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker

Peter Fletcher (UK) is a Consultant Physician in the Department of Old Age Medicine at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He specializes in Movement Disorders and shares service delivery with colleagues in Old Age Medicine, Neurology and Psychiatry as well as colleagues from nursing and the allied health professions. From a clinical base in Cheltenham, he runs clinics on four sites across a very rural County.

He is a founder member and academic director of the Parkinson's Academy and has contributed to all Masterclasses from their inception in 2002 to date. He is past Chair of the British Geriatrics Society Movement Disorders Section and is President of the Cheltenham branch of Parkinson's UK. He chairs and leads the Education group of the newly formed Parkinson's UK Excellence Network.

Dr. Fletcher is a Senior Lecturer and an Academy Medical Dean at the University of Bristol. He has an MSc in Medical Education and leads for the Medical School of interprofessional learning and personal and professional development in the curriculum. He examines third, fourth and fifth year medical students for the University of Bristol and both the Diploma of Geriatric Medicine and Membership examinations for the Royal College of Physicians of London, hosting the latter at Cheltenham.

Dr. Fletcher is the Co-chair of the Comprehensive Care subcommittee of the WPC 2016 Program Committee.

Paul Galando (USA), Director of New York University's Dance and New Media

Sara Lew (Malaysia) has been a volunteer since 1995 with the  Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association (MPDA), a national Parkinson’s support group  based in Kuala Lumpur. She is currently the President of the association. Sara Lew's late father was a person with Parkinson's for 21 years before he passed away in 2011. Her aunt is also living with Parkinson's.


Sara graduated from the National University of Malaysia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology/Anthropology and a Master’s degree in TESL  from the University of Malaya. Upon quitting her job as a bank manager in 2003, she went into teaching at the university  until 2014 when she started serving  full time at the association. 

Sara serves on the WPC 2016 Organizations Committee.


Andy McDowell (New Zealand) is an award winning marketing consultant, husband and father of two young girls with early onset Parkinson's Disease. Diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's disease in December 2009, aged he wrote a poem "Smaller" for his children to help them understand what was happening to him. He turned that poem into a short film that went on to win the Grand Prize and People's Choice Awards at WPC 2013. 

Andy has had a documentary series made about his battle with Parkinsons and subsequent DBS surgery undertaken in 2014 and has contributed to Parkinsons NZ, Young Parkinsons Network (UK) the Power Through Project (WPC) and speaks publicly about his experience. Whilst no longer working Andy devotes himself to his children, exercise and his blog (  As he says “Parkinsons may have made me smaller, but I’ve still got a lot to do"

Click here to view his film "Smaller: A Poem about Parkinson's"

Ronald Pfeiffer (USA) is Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Nebraska. Internship and neurology residency were completed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. His research, teaching and clinical practice focus on Parkinson's disease. He has extensive experience in clinical trials of experimental medications and a particular interest in gastrointestinal dysfunction in Parkinson's disease. Dr. Pfeiffer has been author or co-author of over 250 journal articles or book chapters and is co-editor of three books. He is Co-Editor in Chief of the journal, Parkinsonism and Related Disorders. He was chairman of the Continuing Medical Education Committee of the Movement Disorder Society from 2004 - 2010 and is currently Chair-Elect of the Movement Disorders Section of the American Academy of Neurology.


Dr. Pfeiffer serves on the WPC 2016 Program Committee.

Elizabeth "Eli" Pollard (USA) has been with the World Parkinson Coalition from its inception in 2004 and helped steer the organization, alongside world renowned Parkinsonologist and WPC founder, Dr. Stanley Fahn. Together they worked to grow WPC Inc. from its sole purpose, of hosting a triennial global Congress on Parkinson's disease, to its more meaningful place in the community today, as a hub for many of the global PD organizations to connect and intersect online, on teleconferences, or in person at the Congresses. Eli is thrilled with the opportunity to meet the members of the community, to help build the WPC Legacy, and to watch as leading researchers, clinicians, people with Parkinson's and others work together to bring us closer to finding the cause(s) of Parkinson's and a cure for the disease.


Eli graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree, and the School for International Training with a Master's degree in International & Intercultural Management. She spent most of her 20s living outside the US in Zimbabwe, Switzerland, and Japan with lengthy stays for research or travel in India, China, and Thailand. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two rambunctious children who keep her on her toes when she's not knee deep in WPC work.


Read Eli's Huffington Post article about the WPC

Christiana Thurton (USA) started at the World Parkinson Coalition in 2012 as an intern and had the pleasure of attending the 3rd World Parkinson Congress in Montreal in 2013. In 2014, she was hired as the Outreach Coordinator. Christiana strongly believes that bringing the entire Parkinson's community together will help expedite a cure for this devastating disease and sees the meaningful impact her work has on the community.

Christiana holds a bachelors degree in Biology, a certificate in Psychology and is currently enrolled in graduate school to obtain her Masters in Public Health. Her prior work and volunteer experience ranges from human resources assistant at Ogilvy & Mather to a pathology internship at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. 

Ryan Tripp (Canada) was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in July of 1996, at an age of 47 years old. He worked as a P.E. teacher and administrator for 23 years. Three year's later he was forced to take a long-term disability health leave from his profession. This lead to a major slip into depression, a fractured marriage and a stage of 'who am I and what is happening to me?!?'


After joining a PD support group, improved medication and some valuable counseling, he found a renewed focus on life and living with Parkinson's. His strong family ties to his 2 sons and 4 grandchildren plus active involvement in volunteer community events lead him to a new road in quest of meaningful daily goals outside of Parkinson Society Canada. This provided him with fun, laughter, contacts, a wealth of information, and experiences that are extensive and invaluable. Finally inside P.S.C., he has been a strong consistent fundraiser, an enthusiastic advocate in the community, on Parliament Hill and at Queen's Park in Canada, plus he started, led and is now a member and liaison with  the local support group in South Muskoka, Ontario.

Ryan has attended the past 3 WPC's. He was part of the 1st Global Ambassadors Team for 2013 and has accepted a 2nd term as one of the WPC 2016 A-Team in Portland, Or. USA. He continues to share information on "living alone with Parkinson's' and the need for a "team of support" in the community, to successfully survive. He states that adaptations are required for record keeping and learning new technologies are paramount in monitoring changes for himself and his Movement Disorder Specialist. The patient and the caregiver must be part of the process in achieving a meaningful solutions to problems and the ultimate "cure!"

His personal code encompasses; to live with intention, walk to the edge, listen hard, practice wellness, play with abandon, laugh, choose, with no regret, continue to learn, appreciate your friends, do what you love, and, live as if this is all there is.

Let's be positive and united in our attack on Parkinson's Disease by changing the "I" in illness to "W" and make it wellness! "Carpe Diem!"

Ryan is a WPC 2016 Ambassador. 

Sonia Guitierrez (Switzerland) is from Costa Rica and currently living in Switzerland with her husband, Enrique. They have three children, Caroline, Sofia, and Enrique. Sonia is a biologist and used to work in biotechnology and also cultivated edible mushrooms. As a nature lover she enjoys being outdoors. Sonia felt very honored and happy to contribute to the next WPC to be held in Portland. The previous WPC in Montreal was an excellent and positive experience in every sense. When she learned about WPC, she decided to participate and also to get involved. Her daughter Sofía produced a video “Planting Hope” in which, as an analogy, I planted some tulips –one of her favourite flowers- which after some months of tender and loving care, bloomed to the joy of family and friends. But, overall, the production of the video allowed Sonia to spend precious moments with her daughter and also to learn about how her daughter is copying with her Parkinson's.

The WPC in Montreal was a great opportunity to learn about the latest scientific advances in Parkinson's. However, for Sonia, the most important part was to feel the human dimension of this Congress. WPC was a marvelous opportunity to live and feel so much solidarity, human love, positivism, heroism and the possibility to learn so much from really great human beings. The WPC changed her vision of how to see and live her life. Sonia belongs to a group called Jeunes Parkinsonniens de La Cote, based in the Region of Lake Leman, Switzerland. On April 11, 2012 they organized a conference on Living with Parkinson´s and how to apply the new recommendations of EPDA in Switzerland, among other things.

It all started with a tremor in Sonia's left hand and a weakness in the pinky finger. She felt exhausted and did not improve, despite having visited several doctors. She went to Costa Rica to see the family doctor. After he saw the tremor he referred her to a neurologist. The neurologist, a close family friend, after conducting several tests, prescribed Levodopa for fifteen days to see the reaction. The change Sonia felt was incredible, she felt well again, with energy, the tremor was gone. When she returned her neurologist told her it was Parkinson´s. He was surprised by my reaction as Sonia accepted the diagnosis "tranquila" (at ease). Sonia told her neurologist that knowing what was her problem was allowed her to be able to handle it. Since she started with the medicines and therapy she feels much better, it has been a very big change. To Sonia's family and friends it was more difficult to receive the news, perhaps because they did not understand that her "neighbor Parki" and her were going to get along well.

Sonia explains "that is not the end of the world. That life is continuous and we have to live it well. Creativity allows us to solve the challenges we encounter everyday. We develop a big sensitivity to everything around us. The relationships with our loved ones, friends and other people, develop a special meaning. We have more love to share, we see the beauty of the world with different eyes. A beauty that goes beyond the ordinary, the beauty of the human beings that we know and new ones that we meet and have the opportunity to learn from them, to admire them. They are great fighters, with hearts full of love, hope and joy. Parkinson makes us special; it is a challenge that gives us the opportunity to give the best of ourselves.I have the best medicine in the world: the love of God, my dear family and friends. I am thankful for them because with their constant love and support life continues being great!! Let's enjoy it!!"

Sonia is a member of the WPC 2016 Advocates for Parkinson Committee. 

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