Diagnosed with a progressive muscular disease, spinal muscular atrophy, at the age of 4, Dominick Evans of Washington Twp. has had more than his share of challenges. “I’m originally from Toledo, but moved here first in 2000 to attend Wright State,” Evans said. “I was interested in acting, so I majored in performing arts.”
In a wheelchair since age 16, Evans had become accustomed to navigating around new places by the age 19 when he came to Wright State University. But in 2003, he slipped and fell from his shower chair and fractured his tibia, which disrupted his plans. “I never got to finish my degree,” he said. “I moved to Michigan, and as a result of my fall, I developed a lot of pain and became bedridden.”
After nearly five years in bed, Evans decided he wanted more for his life. “I wanted to return to school and finish, so with the help of physical therapy and medication, I was finally able to sit in my wheelchair again.”
Evans and his girlfriend, Ashtyn Law, left their home in Michigan in 2010 to come back to Dayton. By that time, Evans had decided he didn’t want to be in front of the camera, but behind, directing. “I knew about the WSU film program and that it was one of the best in the country,” Evans said.
“While Dominick is not the first student with a disability to enter the (motion picture arts) program at Wright State, he is the first student with a disability to get into junior year,” Law said. “Most students either do not make it through the audition process of this incredibly competitive program or they quit before they finish.”
And since Evans is now a junior in the program, he became eligible to have a film chosen by his peers to be produced as part of a thesis project.
“Junior year is very hard,” Evans said. “You start out by going through some very strict production classes. Then in January, everyone starts writing scripts and the class reviews and critiques each one. It can be a very emotional and gut-wrenching process.”
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