Sprout Film Mini-Festival…Making the Invisible Visible

At the Sprout Mini Film Festival in the upstairs room at the pool

At the Sprout Mini Film Festival in the upstairs room at the pool

What is “normal”? Society tends to turn a blind eye to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) so that they become invisible. The Sprout Film Festival is an event that is hosted annually in New York City that features films that provide insightful looks into the histories, struggles and accomplishments of people with IDD.
The films are as diverse as the stories of the people whose stories they tell, all of whom have IDD. The Sprout guidelines for films require that the actors featured must actually have some form of disability.
The Sprout Film Festival serves to make people who were once invisible visible to the whole world, and to connect us all to our shared humanity.

The 12tth annual Sprout Film Festival ran over the weekend of May 31st-June 1st this year in NYC. Francine St Amand hosted a mini Sprout Festival to share a few select Sprout Films with our community as a joint festival, and in recognition of Disabilities Awareness Week, on the evening of June 4th.

This mini festival was also a part of the Community Conversations initiative, which offer our community an ongoing space to talk about hopefulness.

The films were amazing. Movies featuring folks with IDD may not be mainstream entertainment, but these films were touching, educational, inspiring and even outrageously funny. Everyone who attended this mini-festival was blown away by these short films.

The first film we watched was titled “What Would You Change”? We watched as people with a variety if intellectual and developmental disabilities looked into the camera and answered this very personal question.

You might assume that every one of these people would ask to change their life in some manner, ask the universe to undo their disability, but in fact nearly every single soul said they were happy as they were and would not change anything about their lives.

One film was a personal interview with a couple, Paul and Shari, who met, fell in love and got and married in spite of the challenges they face. Their description of how they communicate with each other, and work out their problems could inspire us all to have better relationships!

Another film was narrated by a young girl who described life with her younger brother, who is autistic, very much in his own world, and does not speak. She longs to talk to him, but has devised her own methods of interacting with this beloved brother who lives in another world.

This film festival is an enormous step forward in the way we, as a society, regard people born with disabilities.

Rather than looking away from these people, these films celebrate human lives in all their messy and diverse glory!

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