Professor’s Documentary Follows Life of ‘Queen Moorea’, Screens at Sundance

A Chapman University professor has made a documentary about a young woman with a genetic condition who knows first hand that it’s “not easy being normal.”

Chapman University Professor Christine Fugate with Moorea Howson at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
Chapman University Assistant Professor Christine Fugate with Moorea Howson at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Christine Fugate, assistant professor of film and documentary production at Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, released “Queen Moorea” which follows six years in the life of Laguna Beach High School homecoming queen Moorea Howson. Howson was born with Williams Syndrome, which causes cardiovascular issues, developmental delays and learning challenges.

“Queen Moorea” was screened at Sundance Film Festival this month and Fugate’s and Howson’s photo was included in People’s festival gallery.

The documentary shows Howson and her friends as they “struggle to fulfill their dreams in a world that refuses to accept them for who they are,” Fugate says.

The film’s website calls it the “first coming-of-age film portraying a group of young adults with Williams Syndrome, Autism, Arthrogryposis, and Ocular Motor Apraxia.”

Chapman’s Thompson Policy Institute on Disability supports the film and has been working with Howser to find career options. The documentary was funded by a Chapman faculty grant.

Trailer and information: