A film by Ernesto Quintero
A Sacred Journey
"Sometimes love is the only answer."
Sometimes when all seems hopeless, love is the only answer.
In 2005, my brother Juan was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and given three years to live. Since then, I have been documenting Juan and his family so that his two children could have memories of their father preserved. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized the footage I had collected of Juan and my family is a story that should be shared. Thus inspired the creation of “A Sacred Journey.”
Many have asked how I have been able to separate the technical from the creative. The truth is, this documentary has been one of the most challenging and yet rewarding projects of my life. It’s a deeply personal story that not only follows my brother and family’s path of healing, but pushed me to face my own life choices. Sometimes we don’t know how valuable we are to one another until something happens. As Juan's body continued to weaken, his spirit grew stronger. For every step he lost, he gained courage. For every moment I pointed the camera on him, I gained compassion. Juan’s diagnosis forced me to awaken to my drug addiction and ignited me on a path to healing. It has given me a greater appreciation and understanding of the true meaning of life, and the true meaning of being brothers and friends. The twelfth step of recovery is to be of service. And the years I have dedicated to directing and producing this film has strengthened my sobriety. Now ten years sober with a completed film, I realize the true power of how art and love heal.
If, after you watch my film, you hug a loved one tighter, then I’ve done my job.
"We are all trying to leave our hand print."
"Everybody tells me to keep going, but they're not walking the path." -Juan Quintero
"The doctor of all doctors is God and he can grant us a miracle."
Best friends since childhood, brothers Juan and Ernesto Quintero are inseparable, but progressively choose divergent paths. As Juan creates a seemingly picture perfect life of a thriving construction business, marriage to the girl next door and two beautiful kids, Ernesto falls into the shadow influence of drugs in his neighborhood. As the two grow apart and Ernesto falls into deeper isolation through years of cocaine addiction, Juan’s life is thrown a curve-ball when he is diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and given three years to live. Juan must accept his increasing loss of autonomy and failing ability to care for his wife and kids. In the wake of Juan’s diagnosis, Ernesto is forced to dig deep and re-examine the value of life as he comes to the aid of his brother.
The story follows the parallel journeys of two brothers who each must face their respective diseases of addiction and neurodegeneration, fear and acceptance, healing and redemption, and the struggle to keep faith amidst imminent defeat. In their race against time to find a miracle for a disease doctors say has no cure, Juan must decide what is a life worth living. Two brothers discover a renewed faith in love, brotherhood, family and community and how we all come together to support the ones we love. Sometimes when all seems hopeless, love is the only answer.