News / Arts & Entertainment

Disabled Express Themselves with Filmmaking

Filmmaking Offer Creative Outlet for Disabledi
X
June 03, 2013 12:50 PM
Apple's popular tablet computer, the iPad, has revolutionized and democratized filmmaking, providing a creative and more affordable way for people to express themselves. It has done even more for a group of disabled individuals near Washington DC, as Faiza Elmasry reports. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Filmmaking Offer Creative Outlet for Disabled

Faiza Elmasry
More than a dozen people with physical and intellectual disabilities go to a daycare facility outside Washington twice a week and turn into filmmakers. At The Creative Edge Filmmaking workshop, they learn to use iPads to shoot and edit video.

“It’s just another program enhancement that we’re trying to apply to all of our day programs moving forward," explained Melissa Ezelle, a project director of The Arc.

The nonprofit advocacy group, which provides services to the disabled, began offering the workshop earlier this year.

“The philosophy of this partnership, the Creative Edge Digital Media Partnership, is to introduce iPads to our individuals with disabilities so they can use them as communication tools," Ezelle said, "but also as tools to creatively express themselves through photography or through i-movie.”

The adults in the program are varied in their abilities. Most need the help of special facilitators, like Judy Turay. She attended the workshop to help Nicole Chase, 30, who is intellectually challenged.

“She communicates so well with me," Turay said. "She likes taking pictures of her friends.”

Program director Ezelle said although it’s a relatively new program, the workshop is already benefitting the participants.

"What we also see is the recognition of self and the idea of self-portraiture, when people immediately use iPads to take photograph of themselves," Ezelle said. "The idea of sequencing and understanding past and present, so you record something in real time, then you replay it...That’s also a big cognitive leap for individuals to learn.”

Filmmaker Andrew Millington, of the Creative Edge Studio, taught the group the basics of image capturing, editing and sequencing. Then he encouraged them to use those skills to create their own stories.

Michael Steele, 25, brought his toys - a bunny, a pig, a horse, two robots and a plastic school bus - to the workshops so they could be used in his movie.

“We taught him to use sound effects," Millington said. "He began to sort-of motorize the bus. He made the bus real. Then, as we went on, I discovered that he had a grandmother who lived in New York and he would apparently go to New York by bus.”

As the students draw on their own experiences, they also develop their own style of storytelling.
 
“All of us as being human have language, artistic language can be abstract," Millington said. "But once they find something that’s unique to them, to their expression, they develop. And they make their own rules. It may not be a Hollywood strict form of expression...but it’s how he sees his world. That’s how he chooses to express the world.”

As a filmmaker, Millington admires the unique forms his students’ expressions take.

"They pull from an imagination that is not obfuscated by daily life or they don’t have the kind of intrusions, or judgments, into the art of storytelling," he said. "I wish I could tell a story with that freedom, with that purity of expression.”

Filmmaking is part of The Arc’s holistic approach to integrating people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their community, explained Jessica Neely, its director of Family Services.

“We have sort of three general areas: fitness, arts and personal development,” she said.

The next step will be to take this group out with their iPads to document what they see.

“The goal is to sort of move the whole model of an adult day center out from the 4-walls of the center," she said, "and into the community, truly integrated into the larger community.”

Millington has another goal for the films his students create.

“I’m hoping eventually the standard reaches a point where we can screen them for audiences,” he said.

A move which would introduce the community to the views of a segment of the population that are often unseen.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

At Washington’s Blues Alley jazz singer Jane Monheit and her quartet perform songs made famous by Judy Garland. Monheit sits down with "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten to talk about her music, the singers who influence her, and her life traveling with family on tour.