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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

Hamilton Live: Dustbowl Revivali
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
September 02, 2015 12:19 PM
Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."

Dustbowl Revival is an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members who performed live at "The Hamilton" songs from their new CD, "With A Lampshade On."