The Museum of disABILITY History and People Inc. 9th Annual disABILITIES Film Festival and Speakers Series

Listen to this post: 

Welcome to the latest installment of “Announcing Disability Film Festivals After They Are Over” on this blog. My timing is notoriously terrible. And once again I have failed to let folks know about this festival before it happened.

Here is the site: www.disabilityfilmfest.org. And here’s how they describe the festival: “The goal is to provide entertainment and information while exploring issues faced by individuals with disabilities. A film, along with a prominent speaker will be featured. The programs are intended to educate viewers, offer different perspectives, challenge stereotypes, and celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities to popular culture.”

Red and white diagonal stripes at the top and bottom of the image. In the middle is a thick, black horizontal bar. There is a muscular, male arm and hand holding a forearm crutch. The arm is raised as in a fist with the crutch pointing triumphantly upward.

Can I tell you how excited I am that the goal is not left at “to raise awareness”? While a lot of folks without disabilities describe that as a great reason to make films about disability, it’s kind of setting the bar low. Because once awareness is raised, then what? I want folks to dialogue, challenge their own ideas and others’ ideas, and make some positive change based on their raised awareness. I don’t just want you to be aware when we can take it so much further.

You can check out the archives from past years’ festivals to read up on what they’ve shown before and who the powerful guest speakers were.

I would also like to point you to two websites even though there were more than two sponsors of the festival:

People, Inc. is found at www.people-inc.org. From their website: “Through a variety of services, including residential, employment, community outreach, health care and recreation programs, we help families and people with disabilities, as well as seniors, live more healthy, independent and productive lives.” They’re located in Western New York.

The Museum of disABILITY is at http://museumofdisability.org. It’s a project of People Inc. Here’s what they do. It’s “dedicated to advancing the understanding, acceptance and independence of people with disabilities. The Museum’s exhibits, collections, archives and educational programs create awareness and a platform for dialogue and discovery.” They do have a physical building. But if you have some time to spare online, holy mackerel. I can’t even begin to do this website justice. It’s a massive wealth of information, drawings, and photos on disability history from many perspectives in their Virtual Museum. If you are triggered by looking at images and portrayals of disabled people in media and medicine, for example, please be careful. The site is not shy. It’s not glamorizing these things either. They are providing access to disability history in its many, and often painful, forms.

If you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because I’m still at the virtual museum. Drop me a line or comment below if you want to discuss anything you find in the virtual museum or disability in film.