2005 disABILITIES Film Festival Archive

FILMS

If I Can't Do It (1998)

OCTOBER 6, 2005

Synopsis

Arthur Campbell, Jr.'s unforgettable ride through life and the disability rights movement.

Arthur Campbell, Jr. doesn't want your sympathy; he just wants what most people do: a living wage, a meaningful social life, a few good laughs and the means to get around. In Emmy nominated, If I Can't Do It , filmmaker Walter Brock offers an unflinching portrait of one cantankerous and courageous disabled man who, with many others, is pushing for independence and an equal slice of the American pie. From the remote hills of Kentucky to the hallowed halls of Congress, join Arthur on his own unforgettable ride through life and the disability rights movement. An intensely personal, deeply humanizing look at what it takes to live with a severely disabling condition, If I Can't Do It is the story of an ordinary man confronted by extraordinary circumstances.

Running time: 57 minutes

Filmmaker: Walter Brock

A Night of Shorts

OCTOBER 13, 2005

Goodnight, Libertarian (2003)

Sick and tired of being sick and tired, Oriana Bolden grabbed a video camera to document her life at the intersection of poverty and health, or lack-there-of. In this, her first experimental narrative documentary, she speaks of the ills of society that allow people to continue to be ill, precludes them access to life-saving medications and forces us all into submission in a system that works for only the elite and able-bodied.

Running time: 7 minutes

Filmmaker: Oriana Bolden

Whole: A Trinity of Being (2004)

"Whole: A Trinity of Being," is a trilogy of shorts by South African artist Shelley Barry that looks at aspects of her life after she was disabled by a bullet. Pin Pricks' revisits the moments when the fabric of a woman's life is torn and revelations take her beyond loss; Voice/Over' explores silence/spoken word/speech/the ability to speak and the importance of speaking out about violence, trauma, love and survival; 'Entry' explores the re-insertion of images into a media that does not reflect people with disabilities as passionate and sexual beings.

Running time: 15 minutes

Filmmaker: Shelly Barry

A World Without Bodies (USA, 2001)

"A World Without Bodies" documents the horror of the Nazi regime with respect to its treatment of disabled people. Beginning with an overview of American and European eugenics ideology, the filmmakers delve into the instruments of mass murder developed first on the bodies of people with disabilities and later transferred to concentration camps. The video provides a haunting glimpse into the medical and social mindset that led to the systematic slaughter of more than 240,000 disabled individuals during World War II. The documentary ultimately asks us to contemplate the impact of these events on our attitudes toward disability today.

Running time: 35 minutes

Filmmaker: Sharon Snyder and David Mitchell

Freaks (1932)

OCTOBER 20, 2005 

Synopsis

In 1932 MGM studios asked 'Dracula' director, Tod Browning, to produce the most frightening and disturbing horror movie ever. Tod Browning's took this mandate and created a film which tells the story of circus sideshow performers using famous real-life performers of the time. The film was considered shocking in its time and was banned in places like England for 30 years. The film is often condemned by those who feel that Browning exploited the sideshow performers. Others, however, note that Browning presents these performers in a humanistic manner, treating them as actual characters and not just symbols for monsters.

Running Time: 62 minutes

Filmmaker: Tod Browning

Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back (1995)

October 27, 2005 

Synopsis

This edgy, raw documentary explores the politics of disability through the performances, debates and late-night conversations of activists at a national conference on Disability & the Arts. Including interviews with well known disability rights advocates such as Cheryl Marie Wade, Mary Duffy and Harlan Hahn, Vital Signsconveys the intensity, variety and vitality of disability culture today. Open-Captioned. Contains strong language and nudity.

Running Time: 48 minutes

Filmmaker: David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder


SPEAKERS

OCTOBER 6, 2005

Walter Brock

Walter Brock is a critically acclaimed documentary producer/director whose work has been screened and broadcast all over the world. His most recent film Land (And How It Gets That Way) , about preservation, property rights, people and the land, will be broadcast on PBS in the spring of 2005. An earlier film, A Season In Hell , about a young Kentucky woman's struggle with eating disorders, was featured on PBS's P.O.V.'s 1992 season, won Best Documentary at the USA and Atlanta film festivals, and was screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In 1987, filmmaker Walter Brock was hired by the state of Kentucky to work on a series of films about disability issues. Brock and Campbell spent six years collaborating on If I Can't Do It , and the two became good friends in the process. His work on If I Can't Do It was rewarded by several awards and nominations including an Emmy Nomination. His other films include Other Prisoners (1986) and Writings In Water (1984), both directed by Stephen Roszell. Brock also currently teaches art at St. Francis High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

Arthur Campbell

Born with cerebral palsy in an isolated cabin in the Kentucky Mountains in 1944, Campbell spent the first 38 years of his life at home, sheltered by his overprotective parents. Determined to leave home one way or another, he went on a hunger strike to push his parents into placing him in an institution, the only choice he thought existed. Campbell's parents panicked and brought him to a hospital where he was placed in the psychiatric ward, evaluated and found to be perfectly capable of independent living. Soon, aided by social service workers, Campbell got his first electric wheelchair, rented an apartment and began the difficult process of learning to fend for himself. Since then Arthur has worked extensively as a Civil Rights Worker within the disability rights movement. Brock and Campbell spent six years collaborating on If I Can't Do It , and the two became good friends in the process. The documentary was nominated for an Emmy, and Arthur Campbell and Walter Brock were nominated and won the prestigious 1998-1999 Du Pont-Columbia University Award for co-authoring the script of this important film.

OCTOBER 13, 2005

James Lembeck

OCTOBER 20, 2005

Robert Bodgen

Dr. Robert Bogdan is a renowned author and disability studies professor. He is the author of countless articles and over 15 books including many on disability studies issues such as Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988). He formally held the position of Director of the Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Program, Syracuse University , Maxwell School and is currently the Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Cultural Foundations of Education, and Senior Researcher at the Center on Human Policy. Dr. Bogdan will give a talk about disability history with an emphasis on the public display of people.

October 27, 2005

Sharon Snyder – Assistant Professor, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago

Sharon Snyder is the co-editor of a new book, Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities (PMLA, 2002), co-author of Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (2001), and co-editor of the first edited collection on disability studies in the humanities: The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability (1997). In August 2002 Dr. Snyder was a visiting faculty member at the Universidad de Costa Rica. Her documentary video projects, as the director of Brace Yourselves Productions, include Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back , the Grand Prize winner of Rehabilitation International Film Festival (Aukland, N.l., 1996), and Best Film of the Festival, International Disability Film Festival (Moscow, 2002), and A World Without Bodies , the recipient of CDT's Superfest Merit Award in 2003. She is a series editor for Corporealities: Discourses of Disability published by the University of Michigan Press. Her articles appear in Journal of the Medical Humanities, Disability and Society, Public Culture: Discourses of the Global Modern, Patterns of Prejudice, The Michigan Quarterly Review, and Disability Studies Quarterly. She is a founding member of the Modern Language Association's Committee on Disability Issues, and a member of the board of the Society for Disability Studies

Research Interests

Research interests include the narrative and cultural study of disability; histories of disability; disability as a political subjectivity (the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, class, national identity, and disability); diagnostic labels and affiliations across kinds of disabilities; curriculum development for disability studies; representations of disabilities in film and media; eugenics and the history of institutions, including the development of a bifurcation between regular education and special education in the U.S.

Teaching Interests

Teaching includes the following courses: Visualizing the Body; Graduate Seminar in Disability Studies; Foundations of Disability and Human Development; Disability and Culture: Race, Gender, and Sexuality; Disability Documentary Video Production; A Representational History of Disability; A History of Human Difference - Disability Minorities in America; and Disability as Political Subjectivity. An article written by the course participants in Disability as Political Subjectivity appears in the Summer 2002 issue of Disability and Society.

David Mitchell – Assistant Professor, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago

David T. Mitchell is Associate Professor of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois - Chicago. His books include Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (co-authored with Sharon L. Snyder), the first edited collection on disability studies in the humanities, The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability, and a new book project, The Cultural Locations of Disability. He is also the director of disability documentaries including World Without Bodies(2002) and Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back , Grand Prize Winner of Rehabilitation International's Film Festival in Aukland, New Zealand. His essays on disability studies, disability criticism, and cultural studies have appeared in numerous journals. He is former president of the Society for Disability Studies and a founding member and chair of the Modern Language Association's Committee on Disability Issues and Disability Studies Discussion Group.

Research Interests

Research interests include the narrative and cultural study of disability; histories of disability; disability as a political subjectivity (the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, class, national identity, and disability); diagnostic labels and affiliations across kinds of disabilities; curriculum development for disability studies; representations of disabilities in film and media; eugenics and the history of institutions, including the development of a bifurcation between regular education and special education in the U.S.

Teaching Interests

Teaching includes the following courses: Visualizing the Body; Graduate Seminar in Disability Studies; Foundations of Disability and Human Development; Disability and Culture: Race, Gender, and Sexuality; Disability Documentary Video Production; A Representational History of Disability; A History of Human Difference - Disability Minorities in America; and Disability as Political Subjectivity. An article written by the course participants in Disability as Political Subjectivity appears in the Summer 2002 issue of Disability and Society.


PROGRAM

OCTOBER 6, 2005

Film: If I Can't Do It

Speaker: Filmmaker Walter Brock and activist Arthur Campbell

OCTOBER 13, 2005

Film: A Night of Shorts

Speakers: James Lembeck

OCTOBER 20, 2005

Film: Freaks

Speakers: Robert Bogdan

OCTOBER 27, 2005

Film: Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back

Speakers: Sharon Snyder and David Mitchell

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