For the first time, the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education (RPSE) has joined forces with the annual Wisconsin Film Festival to sponsor Film*Able: Disabilities on Film, a series of eight disability-related films to be shown during the popular, four-day festival.
The Wisconsin Film Festival has been held every April since 1999 at venues on and around the UW-Madison campus. RPSE Assistant Professor Audrey Trainor approached Meg Hamel, the festival’s director, with the idea of sponsoring a series of films that are more realistic in their portrayal of people living with disabilities. Most films resort to stereotypes, showing individuals with disabilities as victims, unlikely heroes, or in need of rescuing.
“Predictable plots and themes tell us more about how people without disabilities form opinions that allay fears about acquiring and living with adversity,” Trainor says. “While the films in the Film*Able series have little in common with one another, they all challenge these stereotypical portrayals.”
The series includes award-winning documentaries and autobiographies about people with developmental and physical disabilities and tackles real issues such as inadequate worker compensation coverage and the relationship between different and disabled.
A complete schedule and short description of the series’ eight diverse films is below. Advance tickets are available through Wednesday, April 11, and can be ordered online or at the Festival Box Office. For details, visit http://www.wifilmfest.org/.
To learn more about the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, go to the RPSE website: http://www.education.wisc.edu/rpse/.
Film*Able: Disabilities on Screen schedule
Thursday, April 12
7:15 p.m., Frederic March Play Circle Theater (Memorial Union, second floor)
Escape Velocity – The story of an artist with Attention Deficit Disorder. Voted Best Experimental Film at the 2006 USA Film Festival.
Braindamadj’d…Take II – An autobiography of a man who suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of 30, and his determination to get his life back.
9:30 p.m., Wisconsin Union Theater
Heart of an Empire – A documentary about the Fighting 501st Legion, a Star Wars fan group that visits children’s hospitals and participates in charity fundraisers.
Friday, April 13
7:30 p.m., Monona Terrace Convention Center
When Pigs Fly – The story of a woman who is obsessively devoted to raising abandoned pigs despite being in a wheelchair.
The Cost of Living – An award-winning adaptation of a stage play featuring a street performer with no legs.
10:00 p.m., Bartell Theater
Black Sun – A collaboration between an artist who unexpectedly lost his sight and a filmmaker who creates the images to tell his story. Also playing on Saturday, April 14, at 1:45 p.m.
Saturday, April 14
11:15 a.m., Frederic March Play Circle Theatre
The Collector of Bedford Street – An Oscar-nominated documentary short about a New York City neighborhood that rallies together to care for a man with developmental disabilities.
Kiss My Wheels – The story of the Zia Hot Shots, a nationally ranked junior wheelchair basketball team.
1:45 p.m., Bartell Theater
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