Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind

Synopsis: A renowned Neuroscientist, Dr. Alvaro Cruz, encounters an African American Jazz singer, Una Vida, performing on the streets of the New Orleans French Quarter. He hears her sing and soon concludes that she is suffering from Alzheimer’s, the disease that has been his life’s work – and that has just taken the life of his mother. Haunted by personal and professional regret, Cruz risks everything to unravel the mystery of Una Vida's past before her music stops.

How did you come across the story? I had directed a commercial on behalf of an advertising agency in New Orleans for the LSU Health Sciences center in 2008, and when finishing the shoot one day, the director of the Neuroscience Center for Excellence, Dr. Nicolas Bazan, approached me and told me about a novel he was about to publish called UNA VIDA: A Fable of Music and The Mind, and that he wanted to one day make it into a movie. I later worked with Dr. Bazan to adapt his novel into the screenplay that became our movie.

What drew you to the story? What drew me to the story was how little I knew about Alzheimer’s disease. I figured that I was probably not alone in that regard, and the more I learned about the disease, the more I wanted to do my part to bring awareness to the mystery and realities that surround the disease. What drew me to Dr. Bazan’s novel, was the richness in the characters and colorful backdrop (jazz culture of New Orleans) that he had depicted, and the message of hope that the story offered to those caring for one with Alzheimer’s…that researchers such as himself are working tirelessly everyday in pursuit of a cure for the devastating disease.

What were some of the challenges in getting this film made and how did you overcome them? Like any independent film, the challenge was finding the proper resources (funding) needed to get the story off the ground.The money-raising process took about two years before we started shooting, and luckily, we were blessed to find interested parties that loved the story, and were also committed to our mission of making an entertaining product, that would also raise awareness for the disease.

About Richie Adams

Richie Adams is a writer, director, and producer who cut his teeth in film as a title designer, and over the past ten-plus years has worked with many of the great players in film and television.

Graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Richie Adams freelanced in advertising before attending Otis School of Art and Design in Los Angeles, where he was handpicked by Richard Alan Greenberg of main title fame (Alien, Superman, Matrix) to be Art Director for his new company, RAGinc, and, later, Creative Director of Greenberg’s next company, Ignite Creative, where Richie designed and produced main title sequences and motion picture advertising for films such as S.W.A.T., The Last Samurai, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

After several years in Los Angeles, Richie returned to hometown, Baton Rouge, LA, to form River Road Creative, a boutique live-action studio where he continues to offer design and related services for film and television (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Water For Elephants, Babel), as well as directing/producing commercials, which have garnered awards and accolades at most of the major award competitions, including an EMMY® nomination.

In 2010, Adams wrote, directed, and produced his first independent film, Inventing Adam, which played to sold-out audiences, including the Vail Film Festival. In 2014, Adams wrote, directed and produced his second feature film, Una Vida: A Fable of Music and The Mind, which is currently playing the festival circuit, debuting at the 2014 Vail Film Festival.