More than 1200 workers with developmental disabilities work at Lott Industries, a car manufacturing company in Toledo, Ohio. But, as the auto industry declines in neighboring Detroit, Lott has been threatened with closure – and has only twelve months to reinvent and, hopefully, save itself. A Whole Lott More tracks this critical year for Lott from the perspectives of three unique and unforgettable people - Wanda, TJ and Kevin. In its portrayal of Lott’s potential demise, the film explores the narrow range of employment available to people with developmental disabilities and details the incredible contribution they can make in the working world when provided with the right support.
Audience Award, HotDocs 2013
After being paralyzed by polio as a child, Jerome Felder renamed himself Doc Pomus, reinventing himself first as a blues singer and then as one of American popular music’s greatest songwriters, writing classics like, “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “A Teenager in Love,” and “Viva Las Vegas.” AKA DOC POMUS brings to life Doc’s joyous, romantic, heartbreaking, and extraordinarily eventful journey.
Festival Grand Prize, Stony Brook Film Festival 2012
From bionic limbs and neural implants to prenatal screenings researchers around the world are developing technologies to “fix” or enhance the human body. These developments not only challenge the concept of disability, but of what it means to be fundamentally be a human in the 21st century. Does a man with no legs truly have a “disability” when he can run faster than most people in the world? What does it mean to be “normal” in a world where increasing numbers of people turn to “smart drugs” to get ahead each day? Fixed looks at the drive to be “better than human” and the radical technological innovations that may make it possible. With interviews with world-renowned experts and scholars and cameo performances by some of the world’s leading integrated dance companies, Fixed is a comprehensive look at the fascinating science of human enhancement—and its practical and philosophical implications.
After Kathy Leichter moved back to the NYC apartment in which she was raised, and where her mother committed suicide, she discovered a hidden box of audiotapes. It took sixteen years for Kathy to muster courage listen to the tapes but when she did she was suddenly granted new insights into her mother’s life and suicide. Her mother had recorded audio diaries about every aspect of her life - from the challenges of her marriage to Kathy’s dad, a NY State Senator, to her son’s estrangement, to her struggles with bipolar disorder. A visually arresting, emotionally candid film about a woman coping with mental illness, her relationships with her family, and the ripple effects of her suicide on those she loved.
Official Selection, IDFA
Official Selection, Hot Docs
A coming-of-age love story about a wealthy young man with social disorders who meets a woman at a group for people with intellectual disabilities.
World traveler Albert Casals doesn’t let his use of a wheelchair get in the way of his adventures. The 19-year-old sets out on a new journey to the farthest point from his home in Barcelona to a lighthouse in New Zealand… with his girlfriend Anna, his wit and charm, and just 20 euro in his pocket.
Doc U! Award, Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival 2012
BIFF Award for Best Feature Documentary, Boulder International Film Festival 2013
One out of seven people will experience hearing loss in their lifetime. Meet music critic Nick Coleman, dancer Emily Thornton, and pianist Holly Loach who journeyed deep into sound and silence to re-discover music after losing their hearing. Intimate filming, original animation, a rich musical soundtrack (often manipulated to reveal what deafness actually sounds like), and new insights from the world’s top neuroscientists, the filmmaker, who herself experiences hearing loss, tells the story of the great human love affair with music.
DORF Croatia 2013 – Best Film
A coming-of-age drama about a family that struggles to keep up appearances while hiding their sins from one another. When the eldest son, who has autism, returns from an institution, the pressure builds and secrets begin to emerge.
13-year old Ricky lives in Rockaway Beach with his sister and mother, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Ricky, who has autism, is deeply imaginative but painfully isolated and struggles to cope with daily life. After his sister leaves him to get home from school alone, Ricky escapes in a panic into the NYC subway system. His family struggles to find him, both coming together and falling apart.
Best Narrative Feature/Special Jury Mention, Tribeca Film Festival 2013
Steve Wampler, needs to do 20,000 pull-ups to climb the famous El Capitan Mountain in Yosemite – only 2-6 inches at a time, due to his cerebral palsy. His wife and two children cheer him on from below, along with fans who have come to support his important mission. In 2002, Steve founded a camp for kids with disabilities, and his climb will be a testament to the idea that kids with disabilities can do anything which they set their minds.