SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2023 REVIEW! Christine Fugate’s documentary short, Queen Moorea, digs deep into a young disabled woman’s right to live a normal life as best she can.
Moorea Howson was born with a genetic heart condition known as Williams Syndrome. Every day she deals with managing her high blood pressure, making her susceptible to heart disease. Other side effects include limitations in her physical growth compared to other girl’s her age and an increased level of ADHD, making learning difficult.
What sets Queen Moorea apart from your typical documentary about people with disabilities is that director Fugate specifically focuses on Moorea Howson’s desire and dedication to live a “normal” life in both practice and attitude. Yes, there are challenges, but reaching this goal is far from impossible. We see Howson compete as America’s Homecoming Queen at her high school. While prepping for the interview competition, she states cardiologist is her chosen career. She competes in Special Olympics and attends Futures, a vocational school, where she learns job entry skills like washing windows and sweeping floors.
“…focuses on Moorea Howson’s desire and dedication to live a ‘normal’ life in both practice and attitude.”
It’s at Futures where she meets her boyfriend, Jordan, who has autism. Very deeply in love, we spy on a discussion between the two about marriage and that Howson doesn’t want to have kids so as not to pass on her genetic condition. As a sign that maybe the world is becoming a better place, after winning homecoming queen, she receives an overwhelming level of love and support from the entirety of her high school student body.
Moorea Howson just beams with optimism and hope throughout Queen Moorea. As her father puts it, this film is not close to being the end of Howson’s story. Though her future is uncertain, it sure does look bright.
Queen Moorea screened at the 2023 Slamdance Film Festival.
"…beams with optimism and hope..."