With nine films by filmmakers spanning four continents, Western Colorado University this week launches its inaugural
Disability Film Festival—with a three-hour program airing virtually on Vimeo June 1 -30, 2020.
The festival is hosted by Western Colorado University’s Communication Arts, Film Studies and Education programs with the goal of raising awareness of triumphs within inclusive education.
“We believe there are issues related to social justice and lack of educational opportunity for students served in special education,” said Tara Mason, Western education department faculty member and festival co-creator. “We want to explore creative pedagogy that serves students within inclusive classroom environments using film as a launchpad for discussion, advocacy and change in special education.”
The program of films ranging from five to 45 minutes includes special features of Zoom interviews with Festival winners, selected by a jury of Western faculty members, in three categories: Best Short, Best Feature Length, and Best Social Justice and Inclusion. Festival viewers are invited to vote for their favorite film, which will be honored with the Viewer’s Choice award at the conclusion of the festival.
The films portray diverse perspectives on disability and how individuals overcome challenges in order to thrive. “A Touching Sight” portrays an Italian art exhibition that enables individuals with visual impairments to “see” abstract art through tactile and multi-sensory experiences. “Para Hikers” documents the journey of a determined team of five men with disabilities to hike to the top of an Indonesian mountain. “Upside” portrays Stephen, a young man with Down Syndrome wishing to gain independence.
The full film lineup includes:
- “And They Were Roommates: Navigating Inclusive Mentorship in Higher Education” (Director: Kylie Walter)
- “Nothing Down About It” (Director: Skyler DeYoung)
- “Down” (Director: Rzn Torbey)
- “Sanjay Batra – Myopic Inspiration” (Director: Nils Myers)
- “Para Hiking” (Director: Fajrian Vedder)
- “A Touching Sight” (Director: Alberto Amoretti)
- “Anna” (Director: Rich Underwood)
- “Upside” (Director: Jim McMorrow)
- “The Man of the Trees” (Director: Andrea Trivero)
More details on films and filmmakers are available on the
Disability Film Festival website at: vimeo.com/channels/disabilityfilmfest
About the Disability Film Festival: Our mission is to raise awareness of the triumphs within inclusive education. We believe there are issues related to social justice and lack of educational opportunity for students served in special education. We want to explore creative pedagogy that serves students within inclusive classroom environments using film as a launchpad for discussion, advocacy and change in special education.
About Western Colorado University: Based in Gunnison, Colorado, Western Colorado University delivers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate curricula and career preparation in more than 100 fields of study to 3,000 intellectually adventurous students, deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The university’s intimate size and community, distinctive setting and low cost ensure students receive personalized attention, gain hands-on experience and graduate without taking on excessive debt. Visit go.western.edu to learn more.