Thirty years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, are festivals like Sundance ready to move beyond basic access to embrace a new disability aesthetic? In search of an answer, Lawrence Carter-Long attends his first Sundance Film Festival, with a goal of assessing Sundance's commitment to disability access and inclusion beyond the branding and rhetoric. He reviews the Festival's disability-focused programming, participation, panels, and planning, much of which was supported by the Festival's new partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, whose philanthropy focuses on disability rights. Carter-Long discusses audience favorites Crip Camp and The Reason I Jump, both of which received audience awards, as well as the Festival's efforts to provide closed-captioning (CC) via individual CaptiView devices and Feature Film Captioning Service, concluding that the Festival set a new standard for disability inclusion and access.
Sundance 2020: Inclusion, Diversity, and Disability beyond Diagnosis
Lawrence Carter-Long is one of the world's foremost authorities on disability cinema. From 2006-2019, he ran the groundbreaking disTHIS! Film Series, featuring genres from art house to grindhouse with the guarantee of “No Handkerchief Necessary; No Heroism Required.” In 2012, he was the curator and co-host of “The Projected Image: A History of Disability on Film” on Turner Classic Movies, reaching an audience of 87 million people.
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Lawrence Carter-Long; Sundance 2020: Inclusion, Diversity, and Disability beyond Diagnosis. Film Quarterly 1 June 2020; 73 (4): 75–81. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.73.4.75
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