2006 disABILITIES Film Festival Archive


The Ringer

OCTOBER 7, 2006


A comedy about two men without disabilities attempt to “rig” the Special Olympics to pay off a debt by having one pose as an athlete with developmental disabilities. The cast includes Johnny Knoxville, Katherine Heigl of Gray’s Anatomy, and actual Special Olympians.

Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes

Rating: PG-13

Family Day featuring a collection of "shorts"

OCTOBER 21, 2006 

The Great Little Mouse

Written by Mary Egan, a woman with developmental disabilities, this film features a flying mouse that helps promote togetherness of people both with and without disabilities. 

Running time: 12 minutes

Rating: Unrated


A Christmas tale based on the best selling children’s book “How Smudge Came.” It is a story of a young woman with Down syndrome and her love of a stray puppy. 

Running time: 23 minutes 14 seconds

Rating: Unrated

Educating Peter

A documentary chronicling the school year of a third grade class that tests the limits of federal legislation requiring mainstreaming children with disabilities into public schools. The film focuses on Peter Gwazdauskas, a third grader who has Down syndrome and the educational challenges he faces. This documentary won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. 

Running time: 30 minutes

Rating: Unrated

Up Syndrome

OCTOBER 28, 2006 


Written, produced, directed, and edited by Duane Graves, this documentary involves one of Duane’s childhood friends who has Down syndrome. For over a year, the film follows Rene Moreno, 23 years old, and shifts the viewer from lighthearted to melancholy to solemn emotions.

Running Time: 1 hour 22 minutes

Rating: Unrated (strong language)

Award: Best Documentary: Williamsburg Brooklyn Film Festival 2001, Temecula Valley International Film Festival 2000, and Fort Worth Film Festival 2000.


February 24, 2007 (rescheduled) 


A movie about human determination that just happens to also be a great sports film! This Academy Award nominated documentary chronicles the lives of full-contact rugby players with quadriplegia going for gold at the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Running Time: 1 hour 28 minutes

Rating: R

Award: Documentary Audience Award and Special Jury Prize for Editing at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The film was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary category.



David Mack-Hardiman, People Inc., Director of Training

The emcee for the disABILITIES Film Festival and Speaker Series will be People Inc.'s Director of Training David Mack-Hardiman. He is an engaging presenter who has been invited to speak at numerous regional and statewide conferences. David Mack-Hardiman has more than 30 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities as a passionate advocate for dignified care.

OCTOBER 7, 2006

Francisco M. Vasquez, Ph.D.

Dr. Anderson received his Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas. He has served as Adjunct Assistant Professor at number of colleges and universities including the University of Kansas, Northeastern University, the State University of New York at Buffalo and Buffalo State College. Dr. Anderson currently is the Executive Director of Summit Educational Resources in Amherst, New York. Summit serves children and young adults with developmental disabilities, including autism, through a comprehensive system of early intervention, preschool, schools, and consulting programs. Dr. Anderson also is a reviewer for a number of professional journals and has published many journal articles, book chapters, and one book on the education and treatment of children with developmental disabilities. Dr. Anderson has been an active member of the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis, serving as its president and a member of its Board of Directors. He served as a panel member appointed by the NYS Department of Health to develop clinical practice guidelines for children with autism. As a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Dr. Anderson has worked in the autism field for more than 30 years and has served as an expert witness and consultant.

OCTOBER 21, 2006

People Inc.'s Kids on the Block Educational Puppet Group

Kids on the Block is an internationally acclaimed disability awareness program that educates children about people with disabilities and acceptance of differences through the use of puppet theater. The Japanese style of puppetry used is called Bunraku and is extremely effective in creating an atmosphere where children feel comfortable asking questions. Performances encourage children to see people with disabilities from a new perspective; as other children with strengths and weaknesses, just like themselves. Kids on the Block relays the message that being different is a universal condition that should be celebrated!

Find out more about Kids on the Block: http://www.people-inc.org/kidsontheblock/

OCTOBER 28, 2006

Duane Graves – Writer, Director, Producer and Editor of "Up Syndrome"

Duane Graves was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. After receiving a degree in TV/Film from Texas A&M - Corpus Christi. He shot the critically-acclaimed documentary Up Syndrome, an intimate portrait of his childhood friend Rene Moreno who was born with Down Syndrome. Graves also produced and edited the film, which won three Best Documentary awards at festivals across the country including the 2001 Slamdance Film Festival. Currently he runs a production company, Greeks Productions, with fellow film school alum Justin Meeks.

Find out more about Duane Grave: http://www.trisomyfilms.com/bio.html

February 24, 2007 (rescheduled)

Mark Zupan

"Murderball" cast member and Paralympic Rugby Athlete (Mark's bio in PDF format)


OCTOBER 7, 2006

Film: The Ringer

Speaker: Francisco M. Vasquez, Ph.D.

OCTOBER 21, 2006

Film: Family Day featuring a selection of "shorts"

Speakers: Kids on the Block

OCTOBER 28, 2006

Film: Up Syndrome

Speakers: Duane Graves – Writer, Director, Producer, and Editor of "Up Syndrome"

FEBRUARY 24, 2007

Film: Murderball

Speakers: Mark Zupan, "Murderball" cast member and Paralympic Rugby Athlete.

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