2007 disABILITIES Film Festival Archive


Snow Cake

OCTOBER 12, 2007
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM 


The story of a developing friendship between Linda (Sigourney Weaver), a woman who has autism, and Alex (Alan Rickman), an ex-convict who is traumatized after a fatal car accident. In this award winning movie, Alex discovers new friends while learning about the uniqueness of Linda as he struggles to come to terms with his own grief. This is the WNY premier for the screening of this film.

Running time: 2 hours.

Rating: Unrated

The Tic Code

OCTOBER 13, 2007
12:30 PM – 3:00 PM 


A 10 year old boy (Chris Marquette) who wants to be a jazz pianist becomes, with his mother’s (Polly Draper) help, an underage regular at a local nightspot where he teams up with a sax superstar (Gregory Hines). Both learn that each has Tourette Syndrome. Winning many awards, this is a movie about three people who come to accept that life doesn’t always deal you a fair hand and you must play the hand you’re dealt.

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Rating: R (language)

Unforgotten: 25 Years After Willowbrook

OCTOBER 13, 2007
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM 


This critically acclaimed and award winning film examines the impact that, in the wake of Geraldo Rivera’s shocking 1972 expose, the closure of Willowbrook State School had on patients and their families. Using old film clips, photographs and contemporary interviews to show what life was like before, during and after Willowbrook, the film traces the lives of five people who once lived in Willowbrook. One of these individuals is Bernard Carabello, who was institutionalized at Willowbrook for 18 years because he had cerebral palsy and who now works as a self-advocate.

Running Time: 57 minutes.

Rating: Unrated


OCTOBER 12, 2007

Stephen R. Anderson, Ph.D., BCBA

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 13, 2007

Susan Conners, MEd

Susan Conners spent 33 years teaching French in the Williamsville Central School District, Williamsville NY until her recent retirement as a full-time teacher. In 1984 she founded the Tourette Syndrome Association of Western New York and served as this organization´s first President. She has served on the National Tourette Syndrome Association Board of Directors for twelve years, including as 1st Vice President of the Association until 2002 as well as being Chairperson for the National Associations Education Committee. She has been the Educational Advocate for TSA of WNY for over 17 years. Currently, she is President of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater New York, a state-wide organization that is the successor to the original WNY focused organization. Ms. Conners, her siblings and her mother all have Tourette Syndrome. She has written and published numerous articles and brochures on the education of children with Tourette Syndrome, and has served as an advisor for films and documentaries on the subject. She has presented hundreds of workshops through the U.S., Canada, and Norway on the education of children with TS and has won numerous awards for her work with children with TS.

Gordorn Scherer

Mr. Scherer is a well-known Buffalo radio personality, best known for his up-to-the minute traffic reports and, when flying over the Buffalo area in the traffic copter is known as "Air" Gordon. Mr. Scherer has Tourette Syndrome and is a humorous and inspirational speaker about TS. He currently serves on the Board of the Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater New York State.

Bernard J. Carabello

Bernard Carabello was born on January 19, 1950 in New York City. He was born with cerebral palsy, but was misdiagnosed as being mentally retarded at age three. He was placed at the Willowbrook State School in 1954, and spent twenty years of his life at Willowbrook State School, being treated as if he couldn't understand life, love and human affection. He was abused in many ways, and punished for infractions of stupid rules, but he never lost his sense of hope that one day it would all change. And change it did. Bernard Carabello is considered to be " The Father of the Self-Advocacy Movement." He is a compelling key-note speaker and consultant who challenges us all to build new options so that no person has to experience the devastating consequences of living in a Willowbrook type environment. [excerpted from " My Hero: The Story of Bernard Carabello is Inspiring" by Malachy McCourt]


OCTOBER 12, 2007

Film: Snow Cake

Speaker: Stephen R. Anderson, Ph.D., President, Summit Educational Resources, Inc. and an expert on autism.

OCTOBER 13, 2007

Film: The Tic Code

Speakers: Susan Conners, President, Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater New York and “Air” Gordon Scherer, Board Member Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater NY and WBEN/STAR 102.5 Radio Personality.


Film: Unforgotten: 25 Years After Willowbrook

Speaker: Bernard Carabello, Award-Winning speaker who is considered to be the “Father of the Self-Advocacy Movement.”

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