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Disability Studies

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Examines the nature and consequences of disability, focusing on the division between “impairment” and “disability”, where impairment was an impairment of an individual’s mind or body, while disability was considered a social construct.

Disability Studies Collection

  • Gurrumul
    Gurrumul | Director: Paul Damien Williams  
    Year of production: 2017| Country of production: Australia, New Zealand | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    Celebrated by audiences at home and abroad, Indigenous artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was one of the most important and acclaimed voices to ever come out of Australia. Blind from birth, he found purpose and meaning through songs and music inspired by his community and country on Elcho Island in far North East Arnhem Land. Living a traditional Yolngu life, his breakthrough album ‘Gurrumul’ brought him to a crossroads as audiences and artists around the world began to embrace his music.

  • My Way To Olympia
    My Way To Olympia | Director: Niko von Glasow  
    Year of production: 2013| Country of production: Germany | Language: English, German, Greek (with full English subtitles available)

    The film director Niko von Glasow undertakes a journey with the athletes who compete at the Paralympic Games in London 2012. He himself is a short-armed avowed hater of sport, who cannot understand how anyone could take on such an ordeal voluntarily, particularly since everyday life for people with a disability is challenging enough without the added pressures of competitive sports.

  • It’s Not Yet Dark
    It’s Not Yet Dark | Director: Frankie Fenton  
    Year of production: 2016| Country of production: Ireland | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    Narrated by Colin Farrell, this is the incredible story of Simon Fitzmaurice, a young Irish filmmaker who, despite a diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease, goes on to direct an award-winning feature film solely through the use of his eyes. The documentary is a celebration of Simon’s love of film, of creating art and of telling beautiful human stories no matter the obstacle. His artistic supporter, Colin Farrell, beautifully narrates this life-affirming story which is based on Simon’s book also titled It’s Not Yet Dark.

  • Little People Big Dreams
    Little People Big Dreams | Director: Mak Ck  
    Year of production: 2014| Country of production: Singapore | Language: Chinese (with full English subtitles available)

    A millionaire wanted to create a utopia for little people in China. A land where they could live and work among themselves, away from the discrimination of mainstream society. And so the ‘Dwarves Empire’ was born. This is an unlikely theme park where dozens of little people live and perform for anyone who pays a US$16 entrance fee.
    This observational documentary chronicles the journeys of a few employees at a pivotal point in their lives. Connected by a will to pursue their dreams, these little people take their chances in an uncertain world. ‘Little People Big Dreams’ explores the cost of prejudice and the shades of modern-day morality.

  • Liebe Perla
    Liebe Perla | Director: Shahar Rozen  
    Year of production: 1998| Country of production: Germany, Israel | Language: English, German, Hebrew (with full English subtitles available)

    The fascinating story of the special friendship forged between two women: Perla Ubitsch, the last remnant of a family of dwarfs that survived Dr. Mengele’s cruel experiments in Auschwitz, and researcher Hannelore Witkovsky a German Protestant born after the war. Filmed in both Germany and Israel, we accompany Hannelore on her quest to find a lost film made by Dr. Mengele featuring Perla and her siblings.

  • Kim’s Story
    Kim’s Story | Director: Shelley Saywell  
    Year of production: 2000| Country of production: Canada | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    The picture that moved millions all over the world to tears, and that played a major role in the success of the anti-Vietnam War movement, ultimately made Kim Phuc a symbolic figure who was used for many years by the Vietnamese Government.
    In telling Kim’s story, Shelley Saywell makes poignant use of news footage of that time, when the dreadfully wounded little girl ran to journalists at the scene for help. She also speaks to the doctors who 25 years ago ensured Kim’s survival, and looks at the personal story which followed this poignant snapshot in time.

  • Sea of Butterfly
    Sea of Butterfly | Director: Park Bae-il  
    Year of production: 2011| Country of production: Korea (South) | Language: Korean (with full English subtitles available)

    After an 8-year relationship, Jae-nyeon and Woo-young decide to get married. Though similar brain lesions define them, the pair must confront and resolve marital issues identical to any other couple.
    Sea of Butterfly shows that even the disabled are not exempted from patriarchal marriage customs. The first half of the film depicts the fear and loneliness that results from Wooyoung’s hasty decisions. Later, his mother’s perspectives are explicitly visualized and contrasted with Jae-nyeon’s, implicitly revealed only by her acquaintances’ assumptions.

  • Deaf Jam
    Deaf Jam | Director: Judy Lieff  
    Year of production: 2011| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    In Deaf Jam, Aneta Brodski seizes the day. She is a deaf teen introduced to American Sign Language (ASL) Poetry, who then boldly enters the spoken word slam scene. In a wondrous twist, Aneta, an Israeli immigrant living in New York City, eventually meets Tahani, a hearing Palestinian slam poet. The two young women embark on a hearing/deaf collaboration, a performance duet that is a metaphor for the complex realities they share.

  • The Punk Syndrome
    The Punk Syndrome | Director: Jukka Kärkkäinen   J-P Passi  
    Year of production: 2012| Country of production: Finland, Norway, Sweden | Language: Finnish (with full English subtitles available)

    The Punk Syndrome is a documentary film about Finnish punk-rock band Pertti Kurikka’s Name Day, formed in 2009 by four developmentally disabled men. The film follows the band’s journey from their rehearsal room to cult success. It shows the love and hate between the bandmates, the crying and the laughter, the struggles and the triumphs.

  • Matthew’s Laws
    Matthew’s Laws | Director: Marc Schmidt  
    Year of production: 2012| Country of production: Netherlands | Language: Dutch (with full English subtitles available)

    Filmmaker Marc Schmidt reveals the life of his childhood friend Matthijs, afflicted with autism. Fragile but of exceptional intelligence, he establishes a system for analysing and controlling every moment of his life. Little by little the film unravels Matthew’s complex way of thinking and shows the catastrophic consequences it eventually has for him.

  • Monica & David
    Monica & David | Director: Alexandra Codina  
    Year of production: 2009| Country of production: USA | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)

    Monica & David explores the marriage of two adults with Down syndrome and the family who strives to support their needs. Monica and David embody child-like spirits with adult desires; they are aware of their need for assistance, but also capable beyond traditional expectations.
    Behind the couple’s blissful love are two mothers who struggled against an intolerant world, and with this wedding, realize a dream.

  • Planet of Snail
    Planet of Snail | Director: Seung-Jun Yi  
    Year of production: 2011| Country of production: Japan, Korea (South) | Language: Korean (with full English subtitles available)

    Young-Chan lost his vision and hearing from a serious fever when very young. He often describes himself as a ‘snail’ since he has to rely only on his tactile senses, just as slowly as a snail, to communicate with others. Being unable to speak other’s language, he once believed he had been singled out from the world.
    But his life changes dramatically when he meets and marries Soon-Ho, who is also disabled. The once lonely snail goes sleighing, swimming and writes essays, poems and even a script for a play, translating every experience into his unique words.

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