This touching documentary follows a cast of blind and visually impaired actors as they prepare Dancing to Beethoven, a play about blindness. The film takes us deep into the lives of the actors. We hear stories of their shock and disbelief at first losing sight and of their struggles coping with a life without it. We hear them talk about grieving and pining for the visual world. They tell the moving story of how this play is itself a victory, a type of salvation, for each of them. By opening night, at the renowned Place des Arts in Montreal, they are a close-knit cast, well-honed and ready to step out of the wings and into the light.
This Oscar®-winning documentary presents Nadia, a 9-year-old girl with spina bifida. Her dream is to attend a regular school, even though she knows other kids will tease her. Wise for her young age, Nadia simply decides that she'll "find a way to deal with it." Despite having to overcome many obstacles, Nadia's got spunk and makes it clear she's not looking for sympathy. This film is part of the Children of Canada series.
This feature documentary is a portrait of Sam Sullivan, a quadriplegic city councillor running for Vancouver mayor. Blending the rough and tumble of the campaign with intimate moments from Sullivan's daily life, the film is an unflinching portrait of the one-of-a-kind politician.
Sixty-six-year-old Ivy Granstrom jogs, skis, bowls, gardens and does carpentry work. Sometimes she walks into a wall. Due to insufficient care at birth, she enjoys only 4.5% vision, but she doesn't let blindness interfere with her life. She practises the art of "mind over eyes."
In a check-box society that functions by dividing us into neatly-defined categories, where does someone with a strong mind and a weak body fit in? Dr. Heidi Janz - award-winning playwright, accomplished academic, and self-described ‘crip’ – has a curious problem. Despite her obvious physical limitations she is denied financial assistance from government programmes because of her “productive” mind. Following Heidi through her everyday life, with all its unique responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges, We Regret to Inform You... offers an unsentimental, and unapologetic, look at what it means to be both “disabled” and “productive”.
A story from Victoria, British Columbia, of one young man who, despite a crippling malady, is determined to experience as many of life's offerings as possible. Brian Wilson is spastic, confined to a wheelchair, but he works at a job, looks after himself, and moves about from place to place on his own. Every day has its challenges and victories, and sometimes defeats. With this example of personal courage, the film provides insight into the private and daily struggle of the disabled.
In this installment of the Eye Witness series, we look at classrooms on rails, circa 1949. We visit Ontario forests north of Lake Superior, where children come from miles away to attend school in a school car. They receive a month's worth of homework at a time, to keep them busy until the next time the classroom comes around. In Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, we see a unique workshop that trains the physically-challenged as furniture makers and seamstresses, allowing them to earn a living and build self-reliance.
This feature documentary is a portrait of Luke Melchior (1973-2021) who, at 26, had already lived longer than most people with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive wasting of the muscles. Knowing his life would be relatively short had made Luke feel an urgency about making a lasting contribution. Living independently, with the help of 3 homecare workers, he ran a web-based business selling outdoor gear, and chaired the board of the Disability Resource Centre in Victoria, BC, where he was a passionate advocate for the rights of the disabled.
Bearing Witness consists of 3 films, each approximately one hour long, on people with life-threatening illnesses. The series also profiles Jocelyn Morton, who died of liver cancer at 44, and Robert Coley-Donohue, who died of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) at age 74.
Meet Tony Rossi, a 10-year-old boy who can only distinguish light from shadow. Despite this difficulty, he leads a very active life. The short documentary shows the ingenious ways in which Tony manages his life. This film is part of the Children of Canada series.
An intimate look into the mind of Niall McNeil, an artist and performer with Down syndrome, and his unique chosen family. In Lay Down Your Heart, Niall introduces us to his many “family members,” his multiple “children,” his renowned “ex-wife” and director of the film Marie Clements, and other bonds forged through open-hearted creativity.
This feature-length documentary looks at Stephen O'Keefe, a deaf, stand-up comedian. Faced with the usual challenges that life presents - marriage, children and career - Stephen works extra hard just to be able to hear (with the aid of a cochlear implant) and communicate with those around him. While many hearing-impaired people find life isolating, Stephen embraces the spotlight and chooses to step forward and entertain people.