News / Arts & Entertainment

Disabled Express Themselves with Filmmaking

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

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students 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.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."