Synopsis by Nathan Southern
In the mid-2000s, Jason DaSilva seemingly had it all. As a twentysomething American expat raised in British Columbia, he had established himself in a short amount of time as one of the most successful and exciting young documentarians in North America, with critically acclaimed festival pictures such as Olivia's Puzzle and Twins of Mankala under his belt. In addition to this, he came from a happy, well-adjusted family, had lots of beautiful women to date, and was in perfect health. Then disaster struck, circa mid-late 2006: a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, one of the most crippling of all physical disabilities, capable of limiting eyesight, impairing speech and motor control, and a host of other ills. Never one to shy away from a challenge, DaSilva picked up his camera, turned it on himself, and began making a video essay on his gradual physical decline and the resultant struggles. Along the way, he met a young woman named Alice Cook via an MS support group; the two fell in love, married, and conceived a child. Then they came face-to-face with the broad lack of information for the physically disabled about which public businesses are handicapped accessible. The couple's solution involved designing a computer application called AxsMap, an electronic database covering all of North America, that indexes such establishments. When I Walk tells DaSilva's story, before and during the first couple of years of his relationship with Cook and up through the creation and launch of AxsMap.