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CRIP CAMP: A DISABILITY REVOLUTION

Just down the road from Woodstock, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a parallel revolution blossomed in a summer camp for disabled teenagers. Steeped in the humour and music of the era, Crip Camp explores the universal experience of summer camp awakenings that would transform lives and shape the future of the disability rights movement. Told from the point of view of former camper Jim LeBrecht, the film traces the journeys of campers up to the present day, in this compelling and untold story of a powerful journey towards inclusion.

Why We Love It: With great storytelling, powerful testimonials and a hint of cheeky humour, Crip Camp may be the best film we’ve ever seen on the disability rights movement. It features real footage from the camp making us feel like we are at there ourselves, participating in conversations and raising questions that those in the community still asks today. 

Directors: James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham

Available on Netflix

EMMANUEL’S GIFT

This documentary tells the story of 27-year-old Ghanaian Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, born with a scarred leg. People with disabilities are often disdained or even murdered at birth in Africa, but Emmanuel is determined to be a part of society. After receiving a bicycle, Emmanuel rides across Ghana, challenging stereotypes in the process. Emmanuel travels to America to receive a prosthetic leg and spreads awareness of human rights for the disabled everywhere he goes.

Why We Love It: A powerful documentary narrated by Oprah Winfrey (no big deal), that tackles the social model of disability in Ghana. Right from the start we can’t help but get attached to Emmanuel and his mission. He shows us that we don’t have to wait for opportunities to be included; we can (and should) demand for it. When we pull ourselves up and sit at the table, we are also inviting others to do so as well. 

Directors: Lisa LaxNancy Stern

Available on Prime Video (US)

TAKE A LOOK AT THIS HEART

A film about love, sexuality, and the human bond within the disability community. A journey into the lives of 17 unique people; some with disabilities and their partners, others struggling to get by in a world that seems too often discount people with disabilities as romantic candidates.

Why We Love It: From having sex on a wheelchair to asking someone out at a bar, this documentary is straightforward and doesn’t sugarcoat dating within the disabled community. Ben Duffy highlights a diversity of truths about love and sex and disability. As a whole, this doc presents the most important kind of love: self-love. Before we can give ourselves to others, we have to look inside our own hearts and accept who we areincluding the bodies we have. 

Directors: Ben Duffy

Available on Prime Video (Canada)

PICTURE THIS

Picture This is a documentary short produced by The National Film Board of Canada and directed by award winning director, Jari Osborne. The piece features Andrew Gurza discussing the realities of sex, disability and queerness. 

Why We Love It: “Picture This” would be the perfect segue after Ben Duff’s documentary. A raw and candid account on sexual vulnerability, Andrew Gurza goes into the nitty gritty of being queer and disabled. He points out the need for representation of disability not just in the media but specifically in gay media. He bares it all and is not afraid to tell how it is. In fact, he wants the world to look closer and to ask questions because in the end, we are all just trying to figure it out together. 

Directors: Jari Osborne

Watch the documentary below: 

THE ARTISANS

“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 celebration of difference, The Artisans captures daily life at an organization where the workers are courageous and colourful.

Why We Love It: We got that Camp Jened vibe when one of the workers says, “What happens here, stays here. What happens at home, stays at home.” The Artisan is a light-hearted documentary but strongly illustrates how environments can shape us and how a model of inclusion benefits everyone. We all have a place in the community and by working together we can solve problems in the world. At a time where we have to stay home to protect others, this film reminds us the power of solidarity. 

Director: Daniel Léger

Watch online: https://www.nfb.ca/film/artisans/