Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ode to Angry Birds

Last year, during William's bone marrow stem cell transplant at UCSF we were introduced to BayKids, an organization that "empowers children facing serious medical challenges to express themselves through the art and magic of filmmaking." They partnership with local hospitals, teaching "digital filmmaking skills to hospitalized children. Through [their] programs, children discover their own unique voice and experience the healing power of self-expression." And they are awesome! What a gift they bring to the children and their families.

They help the children come up with ideas of stories to tell and how to tell it on film. Some conduct interviews, give tours, share a creative story, etc. William chose Angry Birds as a theme (big surprise) and stop motion animation as his method. We spent months slowly crafting the construction paper figures and William planned how the story would be told and shot. Since BayKids only comes to UCSF on certain days, we carefully coordinated his last treatment to be there when he could do the final filming of his project. The talented volunteers take over from there with editing and final production. I suppose William could have been a part of that too, but he was done with treatment at UCSF at that time.

Each year BayKids hosts a Movie Premier featuring kids from the BayKids Moviemakers Program at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland. William and his film were one of the handful to be chosen to be honored and celebrated at this year's event at the de Young Art Museum! What an honor! The kids are interviewed and honored on stage. Each of their films is also screened by the entire audience. William and our family were really looking forward to this event. We even took William into the hospital on Thursday for blood transfusions just to give him a boost to make the day a good day. Today is that day. Unfortunately, we decided on Thursday evening that his weakening condition was not going to allow him to attend.

Our great friend, Zack, came up with a brilliant and very generous idea. He would attend in William's honor and videotape the whole thing for him. Wow. Problem solved and what a gift. William didn't even have a chance to be upset about not attending because he liked the alternative so much. I also think he is coming to an understanding that he just isn't able to travel outside the house any longer. The ideas and possibilities improved. William was able to FaceTime with Zack via iPad when Zack accepted his award. William was able to give a brief speech via FaceTime. The iPad was connected to and broadcast over the house system so the audience could hear him. Oh, the technology! Thank you to Zack, and his brother, Matt, for going to such great lengths to make this special for William. (And for braving the traffic and parking nightmare during Bay to Breakers today in the the same vicinity!)

I suppose William would say one of the perks of this format was snoozing through the parts he wasn't interested in. :)

Enjoy the show!


  1. William, we LOVED your film!!! Soren, Rachie, Bronwyn and I thought it was awesome!! We love you!!!

  2. You are so talented William! Your film is fabulous!!
    Lots of Love
    Mrs. Jones

  3. Great film William! We loved seeing it and your interview afterwards! Thank you for posting it for all of us to see. We love you!

  4. We were so lucky to have William show it to us a couple of weeks ago in the hospital. It is so amazing!! What a great friend to work out all the logistics so he could still participate. We love you all and pray for you daily.

    Love the Lucas'

  5. that is a fantastic film!! stop animation is so cool!! i loved it and loved to see the interview!

  6. AWESOME! Way to go William and crew!

  7. Thanks for sharing, Julie, and awesome job, William! This movie must have been made quite awhile ago if you had only played Angry Birds 100 times at that point! ;) Glad the technology (and Zack) :) let you 'be' at the ceremony...and I agree that being able to snooze through some of the parts was a perk of not actually being there! I'd like to attend some of my work meetings that way! :D *Big hugs* <3

  8. HOW FUN!!! What a treasure to have...we thoroughly enjoyed watching it. Thanks so much for sharing.

    WE LOVE YOU!!!!! Suzie & family

  9. Hi William- Spencer Pihl here. I loved your video and wanted to say that it was way better than anything I can do! Move over George Lucas and Steven Spielberg!

    We are thinking of you all!

    Spencer and the Pihl Family

  10. Way cool animation and drawing, Will! Another one of your talents. We just got home, and were talking about how nice it was tom know you got to participate in the showings (in your pajamas, no less)--You MUST tell the others in the film industry , they would be so jealous. They all have to wear tuxedos to their film premieres!
    Loved seeing the stop animation again, and seeing you again--

  11. Very cool film! My favorite parts were the stop motion and Williams facial response to "How many times have you played Angry Birds?"

  12. Kudos William! We loved it!! SO much love to you and your family!

  13. What a great movie, William! We loved it!!! And we love you and your family!

    Cousins Sarah and Markus et al