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New documentary explores disability in film.

Jamie Foxx headlines all-star cast.


Jamie Foxx with “Cinemability” filmmaker Jenni Gold

Recently, I blogged about the new NBC television show “Ironside,” which will debut this fall. The show’s main character is a paraplegic, but the actor that portrays him is the non disabled actor Blair Underwood.  I am used to nondisabled people pretending to be disabled for the big screen.  But a character on what could probably be a hit TV series that airs weekly crosses a different line. Unfortunately, it is just one of many lines that are constantly crossed in Hollywood when it comes to the portrayal and presentation of my brothers and sisters with disabilities.

A new documentary film, “Cinemability” explores the history of film’s questionable presentation of disability.  It started with the old silent films and continues to this day.  The most recent example is the evil antagonist in the movie “The Lone Ranger.”

In “Cinemability,” Jenni Gold, a disabled filmmaker, uses clips from movies, combined with commentary about the issue from Hollywood heavyweights, to weave a detailed thorough examination of the subject of disability representation in film.  Among the names of the people featured: Jamie Fox, Ben Affleck, Jane Seymour, William H. Macy.

It is very important that you see this film! Go to the film’s website and find a screening near you. If you can’t find one, think about hosting one!

What do you think about Hollywood’s representation of people with disabilities? Do you think movies document society’s perception of us? Or do they shape society’s perception of us?  Leave your comments by clicking the yellow button below.

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6 thoughts on “New documentary explores disability in film.

  1. Pingback: ‘The Strength Coach’ Greg Smith gives us a Shout Out! | Cinemability

  2. The performance of a standard person as another person with disability must be analyzed focusing on the judgment of those who create the stories or those who adapt the script, action that culminating in the hiring of an actor without disabilities. I have always maintained the idea that disability is a cultural phenomenon that can not be reproduced by theory nor by studies as it is an experiential phenomenon. When I saw by the first time Artie Abrams the actor playing a disabled person on the show Glee, it was notorious for someone with a disability that is not convincing actor with his performance. His legs are straight, his torso is symmetric and his arms are muscular and agile. You wonder What’s wrong with this boy who has to be in a wheelchair if his disability is far from affecting even to 30% of its functionality? I hope to see from now efforts like Cinemability achieve a change in the mindset of the producers and the general public about the culturalism of disabilities. Greetings from Peru Greg

  3. Gary, I disagree with Christopher Reeve’s promotion of the notion that disabilities need curing. I also disagree with your characterization of him as ‘conservative’ — the guy was all about stem cells and he opened the Democratic Convention one year!

  4. The Movie industry does not want to look at anybody with a disability now if your black or another minority you are really the old days (black and White movies)every disabled role happened to either crazy or helpless. In the modern era the disabled role have become super human over compensating for example Mommy Dearest, The Hunchback of Notre Dame etc… the question should be asked why cant they find disabled actors to play the part.and why cant we be human . I know of two Reggie Green from Georgia played a role in the movie Boyz in the Hood but the rest have been non-disabled actors playing the role starting with Porgy and Bess in 1958.
    Christopher Reeves set the disabled movement back with his conservative politics.
    Danial Day Lewis -My Left Foot is a classical example of non disabled playing disabled role.. I will no longer go to a movie where a non disabled actor is playing the role of a disabled person

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