Documentary about paralympic champion Marieke Vervoort hits cinemas in early 2023
'Marieke, addicted to life', an American-Belgian documentary about Belgian paralympic athlete Marieke Vervoort, will hit cinemas from 1 February 2023. Antwerp-based production company Associate Directors announced this in a press release on Tuesday. Vervoort underwent euthanasia in October 2019 at the age of 40, after a long battle against an incurable muscle disease.
In 2016, the paralympic athlete from Diest (Flemish Brabant province) rose to fame after winning silver and bronze medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio. At a press conference in Rio, she revealed to the world that she had registered written consent for euthanasia in 2008 but wanted to continue living until the physical pain would no longer be bearable. With this open and honest - but also shocking - statement, her story gained worldwide attention.
Vervoort had been suffering from progressive tetraplegia, a rare condition that paralyses the patient's limbs, since a young age and was confined to a wheelchair in 2000 at just 20. During her rehabilitation at the hospital, she came into contact with adapted sports, which would become a common thread throughout her life.
"I discovered Marieke Vervoort's story in the New York Times in September 2016," says Pola Rapaport, the US director of 'Marieke, Addicted to Life'. "A few days before that, she had won the silver medal in the 400-metre wheelchair race at the Paralympics in Rio. She intrigued me immediately: the way she talked about her euthanasia documents and their paradoxical effect, namely to want to live every moment to the fullest until her chosen date of death."
'Marieke, addicted to life' is a production by Blinding Lights, Inc (USA) in co-production with Associate Directors (Belgium) and Flemish public broadcaster VRT. Last week, the film won the award for 'Best of Women's Voices' at the Portland Film Festival in the US state of Oregon.
#FlandersNewsService | Marieke Vervoort celebrates after winning multiple medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio, 2016 © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK