-In honor of National DisAbility Awareness Month (March)-
"It always angered me that people with disabilities never got good lighting, they never got good photography and they never got good cameras," Kent says. "So I just went out and bought an old Aeroflex — the same camera they used in Easy Rider. About 20 to 25 percent of our film is shot on 35mm film." --Jon Kent in an interview by Nashville Scene.
Not only did my filmmaker friend attempt to raise the bar on an often marginalized segment of society--people with disAbilities--his 501 Cinema Productions film about Williams syndrome sold out in March last year with more than 300 viewers in its' world premiere at the 2011 Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece. The festival also selected the film for two special screenings--one touring Greek towns and the other during Special Olympics. Too, the film garnered a Silver Addy Award for the Embraceable trailer, above, via the National Advertising Federation. Learn more at embraceablemovie.com or Facebook.
Embraceable will also be at the Sprout Film Festival in New York next month, along with a photo exhibit by Kent. The filmmaker also sold television rights for the film in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Poland and the Netherlands. This year marks year 10 for Sprout, a festival of film and video related to the field of developmental disabilities. According to their mission statement: "People with developmental disabilities as subjects and performers remain marginalized in the media. The Sprout Film Festival aims to raise their profile by showcasing works of all genres featuring this population."
Williams syndrome is a rare genetic disorder affecting only one in about 10,000 people. Individuals with Williams syndrome are small in stature and have unusual gifts in language and music yet also have intellectual disabilities. In history, the legend of elves may have been based on people with the disorder who, in addition to their petite features are generally extraordinarily happy and extremely social. Scientists have also learned much about all of our brains by studying the disorder. They learned, for instance, that humans process math and language in different hemispheres of the brain based in part on the fact that people with Williams syndrome talk so fluently, with such impressive vocabularies that belie their intellectual disability, which is demonstrated in part with an inability to perform simple math. Fascinating.
Hats off to Kent for a beautiful, touching film. Always expect something stunning from Kent Creative.