Written by: Robyn Ollodort, adapted for 2018 by Juhee Joshi
As we gear up for Superfest Disability Film Festival 2018, we wanted to share key features of the films in the festival that excite us and that are changing the way we see disability. So, in this Buzzfeed-style feature, we present 10 things you’ll find in #Superfest2018 films that you won’t get anywhere else - but should! And don’t forget to buy your tickets to Superfest now before they sell out!
1. PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AS MAIN CHARACTERS
To Know Him
Two women sit, both with looks of concern, gazing towards the left. The woman, at left, is in focus and wears a black shirt.
When a tragic accident leaves Sarah grieving for her deaf partner Rob, she is forced to track down and engage with his estranged hearing father. To lay the man she loves to rest, Sarah must overcome a barrier far greater than language
2. DISABILITY FRIENDSHIPS
Stumped - Best of Festival, Short
Maureen climbs a sheer rock-face, hundreds of feet in the air.
Climber Maureen Beck is not here to be your inspiration. She was born missing her lower left arm, but that hasn't stopped her from going hard. “I don’t want to just be a good one-armed climber,” says Maureen. “I want to be a good climber."
3. PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WHO ARE ALSO QUEER AND/OR PEOPLE OF COLOR
Who Am I To Stop It - Disability Justice Award
Dani Sanderson with curly dark-brown hair and ear buds around her neck.
This semi-observational documentary explores isolation, art and transformation after brain injury. Through cinéma vérité, the film follows Dani Sanderson, a poet and beat boxer, as she navigates autonomy, relationships, and questions of family, queer sexuality and faith.
4. DISABILITY AND DISCRIMINATION
Kū Kanaka/Stand Tall
A group of activists march in Honolulu, lead by Kanalu Young
When 15-year-old Kanalu Young takes a dive into shallow water, he becomes quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. Angry and defiant through months of rehabilitation, he begins to change when he learns the Hawaiian language, and discovers an untold story of Hawaiian history.
5. INTERDEPENDENCE (AS CONTRASTED TO INDEPENDENCE)
Gaelynn Lea - The Songs We Sing
Gaelynn sings into a mic and holds a violin while performing onstage.
Minnesota violinist and disability rights advocate Gaelynn Lea travels the upper Midwest on tour, experiencing the ups and downs of the road while hustling hard to make it as a performer and artist.
6. PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES FACING DIFFICULT REAL-LIFE SITUATIONS
Still Tomorrow - Documentary, Best of Festival, Feature
A figure walks away from the camera into an open wheat-field with a path down the middle.
Yu Xiuhua is a village woman with cerebral palsy, who became China’s most well-known poet in 2015. Her 20-year-long arranged marriage has become the biggest pain in her life. Through her poems, she contemplates her fate and writes about her body and her desire for true love.
7. CHARACTERS/PEOPLE WHOSE IDENTITIES ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE MAIN DRIVING FORCE OR SOURCE OF CONFLICT FOR THE PLOT
Stopgap in Stop Motion
A closeup of a stop motion collage of a troupe of disabled and non-disabled dancers.
Photographs of performers in a disabled and non-disabled dance company come to life. The individual artists dance out of the photos and across table tops until the whole company meets and performs in unison.
8. BUT ALSO, DISABILITY AS A CENTRAL POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUE
This is Normal
A profile shot of a woman sitting in her car, looking distraught.
A young deaf woman undergoes an experimental medical procedure that is supposed to "cure" her of her deafness and give her the ability to hear. Despite the controversy, Gwen risks her friends, culture and identity to discover the answer to the question, "Is it worth giving up who you've been for who you could become?"
9. PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES' DAY TO DAY LIVES
Stim - P.K. Walker Innovation in Craft Award
Lower-body shot of a child sitting cross-legged, grasping a blue plush toy with one hand.
An artistic ode to the practice of stimming, or self-stimulatory behavior, the repetition of physical movements or sounds, or repetitive movement of objects.
10. PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AS DIRECTORS, PRODUCERS, WRITERS, AND ACTORS, TELLING THEIR OWN STORIES OR STORIES THAT ARE MEANINGFUL TO THEM PERSONALLY.
Journey to the Miracle Man
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