Request for films and disabilities

Moving Images Distribution (
Fri, 14 Feb 1997 14:11:52 -0800

Sally Friedman wrote:

>i am currently working on an academic project concerning films and
>disabilities (traditional disabilities like blindness, deafness as well
>as nontraditional disabilities like learning disabilities). i am
>compiling a data base of films and currently have a list of over 400. i
>would like help in adding to the data base either by suggestions as to
>sources i should be checking for films as well as suggestions of specific
>thanks very much for any help you can provide.
>sally friedman
>department of political science
>state university of new york at albany


Moving Images Distribution carries 9 film and video resources that might
fit with your project. Description follow below, with titles grouped by
approach and issues they deal with.

1. One video documentary produced by consumer/survivors of the mental
health care system, giving a unique perspective on the concerns of that
particular community;

2. Two other video documentaries look at individuals who have taken up the
challenges that come with blindness and being confined to a wheelchair;

3. Three videos were produced from within the Deaf and hard of hearing
community to provide information to that community and also bridge the two
cultures of Deaf and Hearing;

4. Three other film productions (also available on video) bring an artistic
approach to physical disabilities, notably deafness--one is a dance fim,
the other two are directed and produced by a deaf filmmaker, Valerie

Information and descriptions follow:


Society is developing an increased understanding of the complexities of
what we have learned to call mental illness. Despite this, the direct
concerns of mental health care recipients often go unheard.

This powerful documentary gives voice to those who have been hospitalized
within the mental health care system by presenting stories from a
courageous group of individuals. They speak out on how hospitalization,
medication, diagnosis, family and community support, and housing concerns
have affected their lives.

30:00 1996
Directed by: Chris McDowell/Myriam Fougere
Produced by: Mari Balfe/Myriam Fougere/Chris McDowell/Jill Stainsby
VHS purchase: US $130


This inspiring documentary follows Brian Lendrum who has been blind since
the age of two and now lives a self-sufficient lifestyle on a farm near
Whitehorse, Yukon in northern Canada. After completing a Master's degree
and working for a while as a teacher, he left the city to enjoy wilderness
living and the challenges it provides. He raises goats, has a greenhouse,
and runs his computer with a solar collector. Through the course of
tending his farm, he hauls water from the lake and cuts his own supply of
wood for the winter.

Brian credits his parents with enouraging him to become self-sufficient and
talks about his love for the wilderness and his desire to face new

23:30 1990
Directed by: Ian Herring
Produced by: Omni Film Productions
VHS purchase price: US $195


The realities of disability and society's perceptions and attitudes toward
physically challenged people are examined through the lives of two very
unique individuals: Brian Lendrum, totally blind since the age of two, and
Rick Hansen, a promising high school athlete who was paralyzed from the
waist down after an auto accident.

Brian Lendrum is a former school teacher and academic who left the city to
live a self-sufficient lifestyle near Whitehorse, Yukon in northern Canada.
He runs a farm, complete with goats and greenhouse, runs his computer from
solar panels, and engages in outdoor activities that include hauling water
from the lake and cutting wood for the winter. Rick Hansen mounted a
world-wide campaign for the disabled as he travelled 25,000 miles in a
wheelchair with his "Man in Motion" tour. He continues to work at a
community level advocating independence for persons with disabilities and
has recently been recognized with an Order of Canada award.

Directed by: Ian Herring
Produced by: Omni Film Productions
VHS purchase: US $195

(3 parts, total running time 85:00/ ASL with voiceover narration/ closed
captioned/ accompanied by 43-page print User's Guide)

This 85-minute video features a three-part drama in American Sign Language
with voice-over narration for hearing audiences. It was designed to teach
sex education to the deaf and hard of hearing and is also recommended as a
resource to foster a greater understanding of Deaf culture and language.

Four deaf teenagers in the Smith family are struggling to come to terms
with their own sexuality. In a sex education class at school, they are
learning about the physical, emotional and sexual changes that take place
during the teenage years. Topics covered in class are discussed with
friends and with their parents at home. Dinner time in the Smith house
revolves around the father's attempts to accept his children's open
discussion of sexuality, often with amusing consequences. Using drama and
humour, LOVING YOURSELF shows how sensitive issues can be approached in
ways that are respectful of eveyone involved and emphasizes the importance
of self-esteem and respect for others.

Directed by: Dr. Don Bangs
Produced by: Linda M. Franchi/Cumberland County Family Planning
VHS purchase: US $175

(3 parts, total running time: 80:00/ ASL with voiceover narration/ closed
captioned/ accompanied by a 66-page print User's Guide)

This video confronts child sexual abuse from the perspective of the deaf
and hard of hearing. Talented deaf actors share a rich mixture of ideas
and attitudes that reflect Deaf culture, language, and individual values in
a heart-warming drama that encourages children to recognize abuse, break
the silence, report, and seek help.

The video was developed through a comprehensive needs assessment conducted
with deaf and hard of hearing children and families by the Greater
Vancouver Association of the Deaf. Although the video is primarily
intended for deaf and hard of hearing audiences, voice-over narration makes
it useful for hearing audiences both for information on sexual abuse and as
a resource to foster a greater understanding of Deaf culture and language.

Directed by: Dr. Don Bangs
Produced by: Linda M. Franchi/GVAD
VHS purchase: US $200

(26:00/ ASL with voiceover narration/ closed captioned)

A group of cross-cultural deaf women discuss and define sexual assault.
Produced by the rape crisis centre WAWAW, the video presents important
facts about sexual assault, potential offenders, and situations where an
assault might occur. It also dispels misconceptions and cultural
stereotypes, such as: it can be the victim's fault, lesbian women are not
likely to be victims, and men of colour are more likely to rape. Designed
to break the silence, the video has been produced in American Sign Language
with voiceover narration to inform and include the Deaf community in group
discussions about violence against women.

Directed by: Karen Skelton/Stephanie Harper
Produced by: Esther Shinkawa/Fawzia Ahmad/WAVAW
VHS purchase: US $140

(12:00 1996)

THE LESSON is based on an original dance choreographed for the stage by
Jennifer Mascall. After garnering critical success for her company's live
performances of the dance, Mascall collaborated with award-winning
director/producer Daniel Conrad to create a film version.

This innovative dance film presents a deaf-blind woman and her teacher who
strive to find a means of communication. The minimalist setting is a
trapezoidal wooden frame which alternately serves as a conductor of the
deaf-blind woman's articulations and a prison. The intensity of her
efforts to epxress her thoughts and feelings exposes the difficulty in
communicating beyond the cage of the human senses.

Directed by: Daniel Conrad/Jennifer Mascall
Produced by: Daniel Conrad/Mascall Dance Society
VHS purchase: US $160

Two avant-garde films by deaf filmmaker Valerie Tereszko:

(20:00 1987)

This passionate and poetic work explores the social pressures experienced
by a lesbian mother who is deaf. Dramatization, front screen projection,
distorted sound, and optical printing effect convey a sense of the
isolation, struggle, determination, and love that characterize this woman's
life. The film contains a passage where light rays leave their trace on
silver halide crystals. This light writing is achieved by signing in the
dark with a pen light as the voice-over translates the prose piece,
"Lullyby" by W.H. Auden.

Directed and produced by: Valerie Tereszko
Available 16mm or VHS
VHS purchase: US $ 200

nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
(10:00 1995)

Valerie Tereszko has produced, directed, designed and edited a penetrating
portrayal based on a 1931 poem by e.e. cummings. Interpreted with dance
and the poetic hand movements of the American Sign Language/Art Sign,
Tereszko presents a stirring representation of cummings's linguistic
perspective. Her film is a continuation of 14 years research on the
aesthetics of the poetic version of the American Sign Language.

About Valerie Tereszko:
A graduate of Simon Fraser University, Valerie Tereszko has been deaf since
birth. She has been exposed to Signed English and ASL since the age of 7
and has also mastered the linguistics and phonetics of English, French,
Ukrainian and Russian. Her film "nobody, not even the rain, has such small
hands" is an extension of her desire to strengthen society's recognition of
ASL theatrical literary arts.

"This project explores the form of poetry and art that has a structural
organization fundamentally different from that of other languages...The
poetic hand movements of the ASL/Art Sign is to emphasize the deterous
quality of cummings's perspective, to innovate a different kind of visual
interpretation, best suitable for an avant-gardist poem," says Tereszko.

Directed and produced by: Valerie Tereszko
Available 16mm or VHS
VHS purchase: US $150

I hope this information is helpful and appropriate for your project.

Sylvia Jonescu Lisitza

Moving Images Distribution
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Vancouver, BC V6B 1T6 Canada

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