The films presented below reflect the reality of what it means to live with a disability—issues able-bodied people aren’t confronted with every day. These films provide an excellent entry point into an important conversation about living in an inclusive and diverse society.
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Films in This Playlist Include
The Dance of Words
We Regret to Inform You
Shameless: The ART of Disability
Tying Your Own Shoes
A Mind of Your Own
Suffering from an illness causing paralysis in his body, Kais is awakened every morning by a different member of his family. Stuck in a frozen body, he dreams at night that he is the hero of his favorite manga, along with his brothers, Fehd the bodybuilder and Zaïd the ninja.
Over 200,000 people in Canada are deaf. For deaf francophones, Quebec Sign Language is essential to both their identity and their connection to the deaf community. In the past decades, parents and doctors have pushed for hearing aids, cochlear implants and a mainstream education for deaf kids. Yet this thrust into the hearing world has come at a price for some deaf students, who may have trouble following classroom activities and end up being marginalized.
The Dance of Words features young artists who have embraced their deaf identity in adulthood after spending a difficult childhood in the grey zone between hearing culture and deaf culture. These emerging artists show how they are using the arts to build a deaf culture that makes them proud. They shine a spotlight on their community while promoting and advancing deaf culture with a keen sensitivity.
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”.
Art and activism are the starting point for a funny and intimate portrait of five surprising individuals with diverse disabilities. Packed with humour and raw energy, this film follows the gang of five from B.C. to Nova Scotia as they create and present their own images of their disabilities.
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.
“We’re beautiful, the whole gang. We’re special,” says Jean of the 15-odd employees at The Artisan—a workshop employing people with intellectual disabilities. Jean is the self-described “handyman and best-looking” member of the group. A moving celebration of difference, The Artisans captures daily life at an organization where the workers are as courageous as they are colourful.
This short animated documentary offers an intimate glimpse into the exceptional mindsets and emotional lives of four adult artists with Down Syndrome. An artful, four-way essay about ability, film explores how it feels to be a little bit unusual.
In her follow-up to her award-winning film, John and Michael, filmmaker Shira Avni pursues a deeper understanding of esteem and disability by inviting Petra, Matthew, Daninah, and Katherine to consider their pasts, relationships and ambitions.
This feature documentary follows a number of women with disabilities as they affirm their right to seek, develop and sustain intimate relationships with the partners of their choice. In this moving one-hour film, four disabled women from across Canada share their personal experiences, with particular emphasis on sexuality, self-esteem, stereotyping, and parenting.
Over the course of a weekend tournament, youth sledge hockey teams from the U.S. and Canada battle for supremacy. Designed for players who have a physical challenge, the fundaments of the sport — passing, shooting, trash talking your opponents – remain the same. Director Sam Vint captures the end-to-end action as the Manitoba Sledgehammers do it all.
It is estimated that in every Canadian classroom, there are two or three kids affected by a learning disability. Although they are generally of average or higher intelligence, these kids struggle every day to keep up with the class and to be accepted. Meet Henry, Stephanie, Matthew and Max, four incredible kids who won't let their learning differences hold them down. As they confront their disabilities and revel in unique talents like singing and chess, it becomes clear that "different" can also mean wonderful. This warm and inspirational video will encourage and boost the self-esteem of kids struggling with learning disabilities, and foster understanding in their peers.