Film festival calls cut to ‘disabled’ label

(1.27) Film Festival
MAKING CHANGE THROUGH FILM: The MADCAP Theaters on Mill Avenue will be hosting the Equity Alliance at an ASU film festival this weekend. The film festival will address issues faced by the disabled in society.(Photo by Serwaa Adu-Tutu)
Published On:
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
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A group of faculty members and students at ASU are using film in their mission to end the use of the word ‘disabled.’

The “Different From What?” three-day film festival starts Friday and goes until Sunday at the MADCAP Theater on Mill Avenue, near the Tempe campus.

Faculty members from the Equity Alliance at ASU and doctoral students from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the special education program came together to start the festival.

Their goal is to spread the message that people with disabilities are not different and to push them to look through a new set of lenses.

Lisa Tolentino, media arts and science doctoral student, was the creative lead for the festival. She helped with marketing, coordinating with directors and creating the Web site.

“What is a disability for a dancer who doesn’t have any arms or any legs?” Tolentino said. “It’s just a different perspective.”

The festival will feature more than 25 films, some shot by student directors and premiering for the first time. They show children, teens and adults with cerebral palsy, autism and blindness.

On Friday, a guest film will show, directed by George Kachadorian, called “Shooting Beauty: Everyone Deserves a Shot.”

The award-winning documentary is about an aspiring fashion photographer who finds a facility for people with various disabilities and has them take pictures of their daily lives.

After the film, there will be a panel with the director and the festival’s jury to talk about the movie in an open discussion.

JoEtta Gonzales, director of Equity Alliance, said she wants people to learn something new and become more tolerant and accepting of people’s differences.

“It’s about changing mindsets,” Gonzales said. “Disability is a socially constructed idea.”

The films will start showing at 10 a.m. Saturday and go until 9:45 p.m. Community discussions are being held throughout the festival on Twitter.

Video booths will be set up around the festival to record reactions and comments about the films. On Sunday, those reactions will be shown.

On the last day, there will be awards, a final discussion and the winning film will be shown.

Federico Waitoller, a doctoral student studying interdisciplinary curriculum and instruction with focus on special education, hopes these movies will break the labels of calling someone disabled.

“Movies are very powerful and they shape people,” said Waitoller. “We hope everyone comes and participates.”

Reach the reporter at mpareval@asu.edu