Mimi and Dona Title

What happens when love runs out of time? For a 92-year-old mother, Mimi, who has cared 64 years for Dona, a daughter who has an intellectual disability, it means facing the inevitable—she will not outlive her daughter—and finding her daughter a home.

Heart-wrenching. The film is unflinching as it is beautiful, chronicling difficult decision-making that comes to involve the whole extended family. The New York Times
New York Times Names MIMI AND DONA "one of the best TV shows of 2015"

This poignant, heartbreaking and, at times, humorous documentary traces this process through the story of a quirky and deeply connected mother-daughter duo. The film spotlights the challenges of aging caregivers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities—some 4.6 million Americans, 75% of whom live at home with family—and details the ripple effects of Dona's disability on three generations of a Texas family.

Director Sophie Sartain started shooting in 2009, taking an HDV camera from Los Angeles to Dallas to capture the quirky and insular world of her grandmother, Mimi, and her aunt, Dona. Time was scarce. Mimi had finally admitted that she could no longer care for her daughter Dona, and an application was submitted to move Dona to a state-run institution. After 64 years, Mimi would have an empty nest, and Dona would suddenly be on her own.

MIMI AND DONA has been well-received in film festivals around the world and was broadcast nationally on PBS in November, 2015.

  • Format:
    Feature documentary

  • Length:
    65 minutes

  • Status:
    DVDs and available for screenings.

  • Filmmakers:
    Nancy Spielberg, Executive Producer
    Marta Kauffman, Executive Producer
    Sophie Sartain, Writer, Producer and Director
    Chris Callister, Editor
    Dyanna Taylor, Additional Photography

  • Film website:

  • Purchase:
    Purchase DVD
    Stream on Amazon