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CinemAbility (2013)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 19 users  
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This documentary examines the ever-changing portrayals of disability story lines in film, TV and the web to see if the media has had a hand in transforming the societal inclusion of people with disabilities.

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Title: CinemAbility (2013)

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Storyline

This dynamic documentary will take a detailed look at the evolution of "disability" themes in entertainment, from film and TV to the Web, to see if the media has had a hand in transforming the societal inclusion of those with disabilities. Our in-depth investigation has gone behind the scenes to interview Filmmakers, Studio Executives, Film Historians, and Celebrities, and utilizes vivid clips from Hollywood's most beloved motion pictures and TV shows to focus attention on the powerful impact that entertainment and the media can have on society. Do disability portrayals in the media impact society? Or does the media simply reflect the publics ever-changing attitudes? This important documentary explores these questions and more to see if the media has had a hand in transforming the societal inclusion of the disabled, and to prove how an enlightened understanding of disability can have a positive impact on the world. Written by jg

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Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements, and language
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26 July 2013 (USA)  »

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CinemAbility gets it right
11 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Okay... maybe 10 stars should be reserved for films like Citizen Kane and The Godfather, and documentaries about global climate change, and major wars, and all the damage, struggles and triumphs that generally surround earth-shattering events and/or reshape the course of history, but we're all survivors in one way or another, right? Our pain, our tragedy, our struggles are our own. And as Jenni Gold's documentary exquisitely illustrates perhaps we can collectively and unfortunately marginalize this fact, the resulting and regretful repercussion being indifference. I was fortunate to have met Ms. Gold at one of the preview showings here in New York City; she immediately struck me as the genuine article of someone who obviously knows the trials and tribulations of those in the disabled community, more specifically, those within the disabled community of the entertainment industry, but as the film points out that "community" in some sense hasn't yet felt the power of its own weight. The disabled community is one of largest minority groups in the United States that still hasn't completely defined itself, perhaps unlike other minority groups we just lack a cuisine that accurately represent us. Didn't Chef Boyardee use crutches? Quick start spreading rumors! Quick - think - think! Sarah Lee was blind, and uh, Colonel Sanders had glasses, walked with a cane, deaf, he was deaf, I'm sure of it! Co-opting fast food follies aside, CinemaAbility jumps between a plethora of movie and television footage with a litany of actors discussing their portrayals of disabled characters, or actors with a disability, talking about their personal journeys within an industry, that at its core means well, but can be stifled by the realities of circumstance, whether economic, plain ignorance, or good ol' fashioned cultural blindness. To paraphrase a seemingly repeated line throughout the film: "I didn't think of casting a disabled actor in the role, because I didn't think of casting a disabled actor in the role." The entertainment industry is a difficult one to find success in, or even just steady work, no doubt about it; it's a highly competitive market that can be just as ruthless and savage as any bull or bear on Wall Street. And with a stigma cast over your head, and unsympathetic and superficial attitudes floating about it begs the question: Why the heck would anyone in their right mind, disabled or not, want to be around that Hollywood grinder? Trials and tribulations. Simple answer: The work, and you got to love the work, and when you've done your job and you've done it well it's going to be something that lasts and continues to enrich. The poignant message to me, in Gold's documentary, is by including a section of society (a meaningful resource) that has been marginalized we not only enrich the palette of storytelling in film and television, but we also enrich ourselves as a society by representing who we truly are. I keep thinking of the phrase from the American Constitution: "....to form a more perfect Union..." Before the landmark television series Breaking Bad could hit the airwaves, show creator Vince Gilligan (who appears in Gold's doc) had to cast for the role of Walt Jr (a teen boy with cerebral palsy). Vince tried casting non-disabled actors for the part of Walt Jr., but it was RJ Mitte (who in real life has cerebral palsy) that brought an authenticity to the role that was undeniable to Vince. And anyone who has watched the show, or been a fan, knows this to be truer in action than words could ever express. Gold's documentary succeeds in sharing its insight and wisdom on a topic that continues to be pushed into the mute, deaf darkness of our indifference. Time to open the curtains.


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