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B.C. composer with debilitating condition realizes dream of scoring movie

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SAANICH, B.C. -

When Ari Kinarthy embarked upon this quest, he never could have imagined where it would ultimately lead.

Since he was a child — living with a rare genetic condition that stopped his muscles from working — Ari had been fighting to find ways to have fun.

“It feels very frustrating,” Ari says. “To be left out of activities that my friends can do and I can’t.”

After losing the ability to play video games with a hand controller, Ari searched for years to find a solution and eventually found technology that allowed him to control the action on screen with the movement of his breath.

“I can play almost any game out there,” Ari says. “My friends can join me and we can have a great time.”

But finding a pleasurable pastime couldn't compare to the unexpected discovery of a true passion for making music.

“I really just want to impact people deeply,” Ari says.

Despite spinal muscular atrophy progressively weakening his muscles, the adaptive technology and music therapy was strengthening Ari’s talent for composing.

He released two albums of original instrumental music, studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and is open to accepting commissions to compose.

“Now my dream is to write music for film,” Ari says.

A re-imagined quest – followed by Ari receiving an unexpected message from a stranger who offered to realize that dream.

“I thought it was a scam,” Ari recalls with a laugh.

It wasn’t. It turns out the directors at the award-winning Salazar Films had heard about Ari’s work and wanted to collaborate with him.

“He wants to be regarded as an artist with a disability, not a disabled person who’s an artist,” director and producer Jeff Petry says. “And I think the film (we made together) really focuses on that.”

"Ari’s Theme" is set to have it’s world premiere at the Hot Docs Film Festival.

The film within a film documents how Ari overcomes adversity to compose the soundtrack for the movie. It features original music that celebrates his most impactful memories and — facing a condition that will shorten his life — fuels him to leave a meaningful legacy.

“The audience gets to actively partake in the mission of the film itself,” Jeff says.

And Ari gets to realize his ultimate quest was not just to find play games or discover a musical passion — but to realize his life’s purpose. And for our triumphant hero, that’s to inspire.

“You only have one life,” Ari smiles. “And it’s best to live it to the fullest.”

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