Special Report: Superfest XXVI - Interntional Disability Film Festival (2006)

By Joan K. Widdifield, Psy.D
Movie Magazine International
This coming weekend, Saturday, June 3, and Sunday, June 4, the longest running disabilities film festival, SUPERFEST XXVI, International Disability Film Festival will screen at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley from 12:30-5 p.m. After the last screening, there will be a “Meet the Makers” reception and awards ceremony on Sunday, June 4 from 6-9, which is free to the public.

A lifelong disability may be the result of a tire blowing out while driving, a child spotting a interesting-looking ball that turns out to be a cluster bomb, or a few minutes of oxygen deprivation at birth. But that moment, or perhaps the result of a genetic mishap, will identify and separate the survivor as having a disability for the rest of his life. The goal of SUPERFEST is “improving perceptions and dispelling common misperceptions that many people hold about disability.”

I have seen about half of the films, and each is utterly unique, moving, and has lingered in my mind. Even though I consider myself well versed in disabilities, a number of these films have even been life altering.
On Saturday, June 4 at 12:30 p.m. feature length doc, Merit Award-winning ARE THE KIDS ALRIGHT? screens. U.S. producers Karen Bernstein and Ellen
Spiro take an unsettling look at the dreadfully inadequate U.S. mental health system for at risk and minority children and adolescents.

Later on Saturday, at 4:30, Best of Festival WOOD DIARY, by David Edwin Meyers, is the poignant interpretation of the life a disabled rural artist who created wood figures. Devotional rituals, commitment, and caring for his disabled mother give his life meaning. WOOD DIARY will be screened again as the closing film on Sunday.

On Sunday at 12:30, don’t miss BRAINDAMADJ’D TAKE II, winner of the Excellence and Spirit Awards. This 50 minute Canadian doc chronicles a man’s tenacious, creative, and seemingly impossible journey to recovery and re-establishing his sense of self after a car accident that resulted in severe brain injury. You’ll never forget the singular Paul Nadler, whose recovery reflects his bold and artistic character.

At 2:40 on June 4, ABNORMALLY FUNNY PEOPLE, Merit Award winner from the U.K. is a doc about five comedians with disabilities who put together the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. On Sunday at 3:35 p.m., 4-minute-long EQUILIBRIUM explores the confusing and sometimes painful input that can result from using hearing devices.

On Sunday, June 4 at 3:45 one of my favorites, ABOUT LOVE, is the 25 minute short doc that goes into a Moscow classroom, learns about the puppy love lives of young schoolchildren with disabilities, and gives us a glimpse into their daily lives in the classroom. We witness love between the students, and also love from the teachers. The endearing children win hearts and impart wisdom and their profound philosophical views.

SUPERFEST films will screen on June 3 and 4, 12:30-5 p.m., at La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., in Berkeley, California. Tickets are sliding scale and will be sold at the door. A “Meet the Makers” Reception and awards ceremony will take place after the screenings on Sunday, June 4 from 6-9 p.m. with a free reception and awards ceremony following.

For more information about SUPERFEST XXVI, visit culturedisabilitytalent.org, or call the CDT voice mailbox at 510-845-5576. This is Joan Widdifield for Movie Magazine. j.widdifield@gmail.com
More Information:
Superfest XXVI - Interntional Disability Film Festival (2006)
Film Festival