The film adaptation of Great Neck author Patrick Moffett’s critically acclaimed autobiographical novel Ice Cream in the Cupboard won first place for Best Feature Film Narrative at Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival last month.
The movie, which secured first place in a field of 317 accepted films from 67 countries, is based on Moffett’s book of the same name that recounts his experience dealing with the early onset Alzheimer’s disease of his late wife, Carmen.
“Just getting selected for the festival was tremendous,” Moffett, who worked closely with the cast and crew to bring the book to the screen, said. “Winning an award was just beyond belief, far more than we ever expected.”
Carmen Moffett is portrayed in the film by Canadian actress Claudia Ferri, whose 20-plus year career includes leading roles in the sitcom Ciao Bella and the Netflix series Bad Blood. Moffett himself is played by Dana Ashbrook, best known for his role as Bobby Briggs in the cult television classic Twin Peaks.
Moffett commended the performances of the entire cast, but heaped special praise on Ashbrook and Ferri, who he said were both moved by the power of the story behind the film.
“People really got into Carmen’s story,” Moffett said. “They all said that to me at one point or another. They were coming right to me as I was on set, asking me if there was anything they could do better. They were stunned, as most people are, that you can actually get Alzheimer’s at 53.”
Ice Cream in the Cupboard tells the tale of Carmen’s slow mental decline after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The movie touches on aspects of early onset Alzheimer’s not often understood by people who haven’t experienced the illness, like the violent outbursts that accompanied Carmen’s progressing disease.
Moffett said he wanted to leave the couple’s story as a road map for people who go through similar struggles in the future. Judging from the size and length of the film’s Q&A session at the festival, that story resonated with many who saw it.
“I realized the danger involved for other caregivers, and that’s what drove me forward to say I needed to tell her story,” Moffett said. “I have to teach people that this could be coming their way.”
Following Rhode Island, Ice Cream in the Cupboard will next make its way to the American Film Market in Santa Monica, CA, where distributors and executives sift through hundreds of films to find projects to purchase and distribute in theaters around the globe. Moffett said the team has already begun reaching out to movie companies, and is hopeful Ice Cream in the Cupboard will see a theatrical release in the near future.