Coventry & Warwickshire

Rogue One: Star Wars director's film for niece

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Media captionStar Wars director a force for charity

"May the force be with you" may well be the message on the lips of millions of Star Wars fans preparing for the latest movie.

But the Midlands director of Rogue One hopes to use the film to help educate people about Angelman Syndrome.

Gareth Edwards has made a video about his niece Ella Court, 14, from Nuneaton, who has the condition.

Made by Lucasfilm and filmed on set, it has already been viewed tens of thousands of times on Youtube.

Image copyright Assert
Image caption Ella was diagnosed when she was 15-months-old

Mr Edwards is the patron of the Assert charity and the video is aimed at raising awareness of the organisation's work.

What is Angelman Syndrome?

  • Angelman Syndrome is a rare genetic condition first identified in 1965 by a British doctor, Harry Angelman
  • It is a chromosome disorder that causes severe learning difficulties
  • It occurs in one in 15,000 live births
  • Characteristics include developmental delay, lack of speech, seizures and walking and balance disorders

The film features clips of famous Stars Wars scenes and Ella's family.

Image copyright Assert
Image caption Gareth Edwards is a patron of the charity and hopes to raise awareness of its work

Mr Edwards said: "When I first found out about my niece's condition, it was hard for me to get my head around what it was and how it would affect Ella and my sister and the rest of my family.

"People often feel bad for children like Ella, but she's incredibly warm and sociable and energetic and a tactile person."

Image copyright Assert
Image caption "She's incredibly warm and sociable," said Gareth Edwards of his niece Ella

His sister and Ella's mother Lisa Court is also a trustee of the organisation.

She said: "I jokingly said to him quite a few years ago, that when you're famous, you can be our patron.

"To be able to say Star Wars and Angelman Syndrome in the same sentence just opens up a whole new world."

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