JUDY & SOPHIE'S STORY

A film about monkeys helping people.

December 11, 2013 Update: During the making of this film, we fell in love with the indefatigable Judy Zappia, her adoring husband, George Imbrie, and her helper monkey, Sophie. Judy and George battled long and hard with Judy’s Multiple Sclerosis and they gave us their story “straight up.” Judy died earlier this month. We will miss her.

After producing Monkey Do and And then a Monkey, Helping Hands Monkey Helpers asked us to create a new film for their website and annual fundraising gala. They suggested filming a new monkey recipient named Judy Zappia and her husband, George.
   Judy met George while on a sailing trip in the Caribbean.  They fell in love, married, and began an active life in Vermont.  From the moment Judy discovered she had progressive multiple sclerosis, life for the couple began to change in ways they could have never predicted.  By the summer of 2011, Judy had long lost her ability to walk and most of the motion in her upper body.  Helping Hands asked us to tell the story of how Sophie, a highly-trained service monkey, had affected the lives of Judy and George.
   We spent two days with the couple and their monkey, filming interviews and special moments. We were a little nervous about how it would go, but Judy and George were very open on camera and game for trying just about anything.

Judy & Sophie's Story received considerable attention after being selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick.  We were very excited to see it reblogged on BuzzFeed, The Daily Beast, PawNation, and many other sites.

Client: Helping Hands Monkey Helpers
A film by Cary & Yari Wolinsky

Music from Nine Inch Nails' "Ghosts I-IV" album. For more information, check out: ghosts.nin.com/main/home

“Our work with Cary and Yari Wolinsky of Trillium Studios has been a very rewarding experience and we look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come. Cary and Yari understand the delicate complexities of our service animal program at Helping Hands and have been able to translate the emotional and physical impact of our work through numerous film projects. Most importantly, they have always been incredibly respectful of our recipients, as they share very personal stories related to their accidents or illness, and the losses they have suffered as a result. We would encourage any individual or organization to looking to express their message in film to work with Trillium Studios!” 

– Megan Talbert, Executive Director, Helping Hands Monkey Helpers

Helping Hands Monkey Helpers is a national nonprofit serving quadriplegics and other people with severe spinal cord injuries or mobility-impairments by providing highly trained monkeys to assist with daily activities. Through the generous support of donors and volunteers, their monkeys are placed at no cost with disabled people and their families. For more information, please visit www.monkeyhelpers.org.