Rianna Patterson Talks … Dementia: The Island Story

Rianna Patterson founder of the Dominica Dementia Foundation …

has her hand in a few things including ‘Time to Talk‘ campaigns to photography at TrapxArt London. She’s also been seen on BBC, Comic Relief, and ‘Black Gals Livin‘. Now, she’s spotlighting dementia and the beauty of aging in Dominica with a 60-min film. Through dance and holistic insights, Rianna challenges ageism and reshapes mental health narratives.

Please introduce yourself …

My name is Rianna Patterson, I am a documentary filmmaker from Dominica. I am also the founder of a youth-led dementia charity called the Dominica Dementia Foundation.

What started you on this particular career path? …

My grandfather. He passed away with dementia in Dominica. I spent a lot of time with him in the hospital. He was a father figure to me, so when he passed away I knew that I wanted to understand brain activity and human behaviour which led to the formulation of the Dominica Dementia Foundation.

Tell us about Dementia: The Island Journey

Dementia: The Island Journey is a documentary film on dementia in the Caribbean that aims to tackle ageism in the media by celebrating Caribbean elders, sharing new perspectives, and providing holistic approaches to Dementia. It is currently doing the film festival run so it isn’t open to the public at the moment. However, people can purchase a copy for individual viewing by buying 5 coffees (£25) on www.buymeacoffee.com/dementiaisledoc. It took me 3 years to make this film, 2 years were fundraising efforts and the following year was restructuring the project to fit the plan, recruiting the team etc.

Dementia: The Island Journey

Highs and lows and what you learned after making Dementia: The Island Journey

It took me 2 years to crowdfund enough funding to pursue this documentary so I’ve learnt that my timeline might not always be feasible. I also didn’t realise the extensive admin and attention to detail that’s involved in making a documentary. I had to hire a personal assistant at some point in the production to support me with completing tasks. The highlight for me was finally getting to tell stories of our community, and re-discovering Dominica through a health lens and through the eyes of carers in Dominica. I also learned that film festivals are expensive and that I need to have a budget in mind when submitting for film festivals.

Dementia: The Island Journey

What are you watching?

Run the World. Some of the scenes remind me of Spike Lee productions.

What are you reading?

Nothing at the moment.

What are you listening to?

Different songs but mainly Christian music, Soca and Jazz. (Robert Glasper).

Last thing you saw on stage?

Utopia Theatre’s Here’s What She Said to Me.

Who do you rate right now?


What’s next?

I’m pursuing a master’s degree in dementia at UCL this month.

What’s your Socials?

Instagram @riannapatterson_
Twitter @riannapatterson


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