Full Frame: Marianna Palka on facing fear

Full Frame

Marianna Palka discusses her film, her family, and Huntington’s Disease. Marianna Palka discusses her film, her family, and Huntington’s Disease.

To know or not to know? For Scottish‐born actress and filmmaker Marianna Palka, that was the question. After watching her father deteriorate in the throes of Huntington’s Disease, she made the brave and life‐altering decision to undergo testing to see if she too inherited the incurable degenerative disorder.

“If you look at a brain that has Huntington’s Disease, and is showing signs of it, in that stage the brain is missing pieces. It’s actually rotting,” explained Palka.

Full Frame: Marianna Palka & Huntington’s Disease

Full Frame: Marianna Palka & Huntington’s Disease

To know or not to know? For Scottish‐born actress and filmmaker Marianna Palka, that was the question. After watching her father deteriorate in the throes of Huntington’s Disease, she made the brave and life‐altering decision to undergo testing to see if she too inherited the incurable degenerative disorder.

In the award‐winning short documentary, The Lion’s Mouth Opens, Palka discusses her fears with her closest friends. With a 50‐50 chance of losing functionality of her body and mind to the generic disorder, Palka chose to make her journey public in the hope that she could raise awareness and increase research about the incurable illness.

“My dad is actually in stage five of the disease at this moment. He’s still alive but he is close to dying,” said Palka.

The title of the film is a fragment from Bob Dylan’s poem written about Woody Guthrie and his battle with Huntington’s Disease. The film has garnered worldwide praise and raised more than $100,000 towards hereditary disease research.

Marianna Palka joined Mike Walter in our Los Angeles studio to discuss the film, her family, and what she learned about herself and others during this life‐changing chapter.