Screened as part of NZIFF 2014

The Inheritance 2014

Directed by Jeff McDonald

70 minutes DCP

Director, Producer, Photography


Bridget Lyon
Jeff McDonald

Editor, Narrator

Bridget Lyon

The inheritance addressed in this illuminating, personal, and courageous film could hardly be more daunting. Huntington’s Disease is a hereditary neurodegenerative condition that typically manifests in mid-adult life. DNA testing has revealed that Wellington film editor Bridget Lyon is not one of the lucky few who can expect to escape. She and director, husband Jeff McDonald confront the horrors of the disease’s progress most squarely in the deterioration of her mother, who had been a staunch promoter of Huntington’s awareness – in marked contrast to previous generations who shrouded its cruel heritage in shame. Historians have traced the passage of the gene back through generations, as Lyon has been able to do in her own family. Seeking hope for generations to follow, she meets scientists determined to find a cure and details the intervention that enabled her to bear a child without the Huntington gene. Struggling to face up to the reality for so many of her family, and the possibility that her first child might have inherited it, she takes us into the heart of a family whose love of life and each other is intensely moving to behold.