Mon ami Gil, a Story of Friendship…

Such a friendship isn’t shaped by circumstances or conversations. It has nothing to prove. This friendship simply “is,” existing and enduring through everything.

Throughout the entire series, its creator speaks of his personal interactions with Gil. He recognizes that although he only sees Gil occasionally and they speak to each other very little, he has a deep affection for his friend who holds an important place in his life.

For the series’ creator (Manu), there’s no doubt that Gil is his friend, but it quickly becomes obvious that he doesn’t possess a monopoly on being friends with Gil. Gil is surrounded by all sorts of people who also call him “mon ami Gil.”

This is what’s so extraordinary in Gil’s life. Through rich yet mostly non-verbal expression, he touches so many hearts and inspires so much friendship around him.

Mon Ami Gil - Dedication from L'Arche Canada on Vimeo.

But this story of love and friendship isn’t necessarily visible at first sight – and Gil can’t put it into words. So, we needed to listen to his heart and the hearts of the people in his world. We did this through interviews and testimonials, as well as by simply being present and acknowledging what’s being said without words.

The true subject of the series lies in the friendship that Gil inspires, a gift shared by many other people with disabilities. Even though this friendship seems to exist in the background while we’re busy talking about inclusion.

Help us to share this story of friendship, follow the link below to subscribe to Gil’s list of friends!
http://crm.larche.ca/my-friend-gil

 

Project initiator: Gil Frois
Filming: Voices and Colors New Media
Production: Jean Vanier Association
Web series adaptation: L’Arche Canada
Filming and dissemination partners: L’Arche Agapè and Association des Arches du Québec

 


Sometimes it takes a long time to truly listen to people who express themselves differently, who don’t fulfill roles in society from which they can be heard.
Most documentaries are inspired by exceptional subjects or unusual situations. In this film, the camera follows Gil as he goes about his everyday tasks. He completes each job with the same tireless enthusiasm, never giving up.
These days, everyone is rushing everywhere, always seeking more, never feeling enough. Yet, you seem to be content being just where you are, present to people and the moment, and open to wonder.
I did not know Aurèle, but I was sad when I heard that he died. I was sad for him and his family and friends, for his friend Gil, their housemates and their L’Arche community.
Do you have an intellectual disability and dream of being a model? Gil invites you to step onto the stage and participate in our ExpressYourself Contest by posing in front of the camera!
One of Gil’s greatest gifts is his capacity for mutuality in friendships where each helps the other to grow, each brings out the best in the other. When he was young, Gil was fortunate to be accompanied by an extraordinary special educator, François Villemaire, who at the time worked for the “Pavillon du parc”, an establishment that is part of the network of health and social services in Gatineau, Quebec.
Many thanks to everyone who answered our invitation and shared their smile for World Down Syndrome Day. We are now launching a new invitation… to share the stage with Gil. Do you know anyone with an intellectual disability who, perhaps inspired by Gil, would like to be in the spotlight? Write to us at gil.monami@gmail.com.
Why does my heart melt when I see a picture of Gil Frois in my Facebook feed or on larche.ca? I’m either rushing or exhausted, but I jump online to make sure I’m not missing yet another thing… there he is smiling at the camera, or captured at work, or making music. His photo makes me pause and catch my breath.
How can we describe Gil’s music? Innate, intuitive, inspired, free, without reference? Different, for sure!