Life's a Twitch

Life's a Twitch

| 30 min

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This short documentary is a quirky ride into the world of Duncan McKinlay, a man with Tourette Syndrome. At 7 he noticed what he called a devil in his head that made his life hell. In his teens, it wasn't a question of whether to kill himself, but when. At 19, when he was finally diagnosed, Duncan made researching TS his life path. He's come to understand that his strange ticks are release triggers for the high energy charging through him. At 27 he's a virtuoso at channelling this energy. He's just finished a doctorate in psychology. He's in nationwide demand for his workshops that enlighten and boost the spirits of the 100,000 across Canada who have Tourette's.

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Life's a Twitch, Cindy Bisaillon, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    Cindy Bisaillon
  • script
    Cindy Bisaillon
  • producer
    Tina Hahn
  • editor
    Tina Hahn
  • cinematographer
    Christopher Romeike
    Cindy Bisaillon
  • music
    Aaron Davis
  • sound recordist
    Susan Moffat
    Marek Piekarzewski
    Justine Pimlott
    Bissa Scekic
  • sound editor
    Susan Moffat
  • cast
    Teo Weyman

  • Gillian

    I just watched Dr. Duncans video and it was very scary for lack of a better word. Our ten year old son has been making movements with his face on and off for the last two years, now he has started out bursts of sound, he sounds like an owl or in his words a monkey. I think the use of computers and video games is making his tics worse so we have asked Matthew to stop using these devices for the next little while to see if the noises stop and he goes back to the movements. Matthew is very upset that he is making these noises, he tries very hard not to make them, especially in school and other events but he is wearing himself out with that. The teacher is aware he has tics and Matthew says that no one makes fun of him in school. Matthew was very upset this evening, saying why me, and that he isn't like anyone else. We did go to Hands in town here but Matthew did not feel that was beneficial. I have told Matthew that if the noises do not stop by next week I will get him an appointment with our Dr. that saw him two years ago and see if she can suggest anything. I am at a lose as to what to do to help Matthew and even what to say. Thank you for letting me vent.

    Gillian, 18 Sep 2012
  • RLeighM

    Fantastic Stuff! My brother(30) and son(13) both have TS. The outward expression of this greatly differs between them. The experiences they have had also greatly differ. Many of the inward struggles... they share. They are both fabulous and sooo loved! You are fabulous too! Thank you for the honesty, transparency, and hope you share with others.

    RLeighM, 28 Sep 2011
  • squiggles

    This film is very inspiring and real. Although my son does not have TS he has a mild form of aspergers with dyslexia. I would love to see films made by people who have struggled with these issues and have learned to live with them in a happy and confident manner. Duncan are doing such valuable work ...I love your honesty and vulnerability.

    squiggles, 11 Sep 2011
  • bdmckinl

    Fast forward 10 years... Now well established as a clinical psychologist practicing in London, ON, I often use a clip from this video in a, "Tic Management" treatment group I run. Doing so is very effective, because my present-day tic symptoms are significantly reduced from how they appeared in this 2002 documentary due to the tic management techniques that are the basis for the group. Seeing the "before-and-after" symptom presentations (i.e. from the documentary to me standing in front of them now) can at times help tremendously with, "buy-in". These (well-established, evidence-based) techniques for tic management can also be found in my book, "Nix Your Tics" - to date, the only step-by-step "how-to" guide for youth. To learn more about this publication, including purchasing information, visit Dr. B. Duncan McKinlay, Psychologist

    bdmckinl, 21 Aug 2011

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