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About the film


"The Teachings of Jon" is an insightful, soul-touching and funny documentary about my brother Jon, a 40-yr old man, severely and profoundly affected by Down syndrome. He has an IQ of 20, doesn't talk and earns less than $13.00 a year. Although Jon may never accomplish much in this world, he has an important purpose here... not necessarily to learn, but to teach.
My parent's biggest fear was that having a child with a mental disability in the family would bring everyone else down. In fact, the opposite is true. "The Teachings of Jon" shows how the "family secret" locked away in an institution for the first 7 years of his life became the family treasure, teaching my family the most important lesson of all, how to love.
From the opening shot, "The Teachings of Jon" offers an up close and personal, no holds-barred, no embarrassment, no shame look at what it's really like to live with someone who is severely affected by Down Syndrome. "The Teachings of Jon" is about celebrating Jon exactly as he is, and how we as a family allowed ourselves to change and grow and succeed because of him.
"The Teachings of Jon" teaches families affected by disabilities and general audiences alike that when life gives you a devastating blow and you can't change your situation, what you can change is how you think about your situation. This inspirational story of a family's journey is about honesty and redemption, acceptance and growth that offers people hope.

Jon brings my family real joy; he got us out of our heads and into our hearts and taught us so much about love. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to make this film, to share his wonderful personality and magical spirit with others. This is the story of our journey and how Jon has changed us for the better. I hope that our story offers others the many blessings that Jon has offered us.

I'd like to thank the many wonderful people who came forward and offered their services from their hearts: Photographers Sean Glenn and Robert Collins, Musicians Chris Murphy, Matt Kinman, Pat Ahrens, Michael Cash, John Mason, Cherish Alexander and The Painkillers, Bob Hatcher and Round Midnight. I couldn't have made my dream come true without the help of my family and the unwavering support of my Chief Angel, Dalton Delan, Alyce Myatt and the folks at CPB who believed in me. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.


Film Credits


Directed by Jennifer Owensby
Produced by Jennifer Owensby aned John Sanza
Cinematography by Robert Collins, Sean Glenn and Jennifer Owensby
Edited by Jennifer Owensby, Max Boyer and Jonathan Barker
Distributed on Public Television by American Public Television
Funded in part by a grant from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting