Reel Life: A Disability Film Festival

In Here's the Spin, News by Susan Fitzmaurice

Assistive listening available. Wheelchair Accessible.
Sign language interpreters or descriptive narration available on request in advance.
Please refrain from wearing heavily scented personal care products.

Tickets $20.00 in advance, $30.00 at the door.
Proceeds benefit the Detroit- Wayne County Center for Independent Living
Co-sponsored by the Dearborn Commission on Disability Concerns
(whose Pathway to Possibilities event is the previous day – see attachment.)
Also sponsored by the Statewide Independent Living Council, Wright & Filippis, DRIS, and the Silent Word Deaf Ministry.

MORNING FILMS – beginning about 9

Kids Just want to have Fun! 7 minutes
Features children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, cleft palate, and other disabilities enjoying a variety of activities and sports they enjoy including kayaking, skiing, and bull riding. Http://

Visual Sounds in COLOR 4 minutes
What does music LOOK like? The Peter Gabiel song, :”I have the Touch” is the song depicted in this soundless music video. No sound

3rd place winner in “Living with a Disability” Dearborn Public Schools contest
Interview with Nolan Kerr 11 minutes

Kiss my Wheels 57 minutes
This is a film about living life to its fullest and it just happens to also be about a coed wheelchair basketball team.
This is some of the most amazing basketball you will ever see.

2nd Place winner in Dearborn Schools Contest
On the Life of Robert A. Buxbaum, Jr. by Steven Zamboroski 20 minutes

What’s the Difference? 8 minutes
In this film teenagers with disabilities talk openly about their lives and their differences.

Ready or Not 18 minutes
The stories of 3 young men as they transition from high school to adulthood

1st place winner In Dearborn Public Schools Contest 12 minutes
Created by Woodworth Ignite 7th & 8th graders

21 Things to Remember
A very unusual way to count to 21.

EARLY AFTERNOON FILMS – beginning about noon

No Limits: The Tony Fillippis Story 30 minutes
The story of local hero Tony Filippis by Meaghan Mealbach – local high school student (documentary)

Click 3 Times 30 minutes
Starring Isabel Sanford as a “fairy godmother” to Michigan native Kelly Boczek whose life revolves around the movie the “Wizard of Oz”. This is the last film Ms Sanford acted in and it leaves behind a most unexpected legacy.

Nuts and Pudding – 10 minutes
A silly story about a man who confronts his unhealthy eating habits

Waiting for Ronald 22 minutes
Ronald says goodbye to the institution and hello to independence

Superman Forever
A hip hop music video by ProfessirX celebrating the life of Christopher Reeve
Forever Superman.

Depression of Detective Downs 10 minutes
What is depression? What is it life when you are depressed? (animation)

Credo of Support 4 minutes
Words to live by. Simple, poignant, and life changing. Created by Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift. CC

Visual Sounds in Black & White 4 minutes
What does music LOOK like? The Peter Gabiel song, :”I have the Touch” is the song depicted in this soundless music video.

Who is Disabled? by Jones Obuadey 20 minutes
Filmed in Ghana, this film explores the meaning a disability in a very different world from ours – or is it?

Slide 4 minutes
An animated film whose narrative centers around the metaphor of being disabled. Even loving parents hand us crutches, it is up to us what to do with them. Sharon Katz, Director

Bramblitt 14 minutes
When an artist becomes blind can they cease to be an artist? How do they know what they are paintng looks like?

LATE AFTERNOON FILMS beginning about 3

John & Michael – 11 minutes
A very tender love story about two men with Down syndrome (animation)

More than Two Million — 14 minutes
Three people discuss their lives. One disabled by a medical “accident”, another a suicide attempt, and the last spousal abuse. Sad and powerful stories about unexpected lives. (Not suitable for children – discussion of spousal abuse and attempted suicide)

Miracle Worker “Annie Dearest” 9 minutes
A satire not for the squeemish about the “real” relationship between Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller. Faust Films/ Diane Wilkins Productions. (Not suitable for children as some of the humor may not be understood as such.) CC

Fragile X Family 11 minutes
What are the struggles a family faces where everyone is born with a chromosone called Fragile X? (Not suitable for children as some of the family’s interactions may be misunderstood,)

Disability Culture Rap 23 minutes
An amazing array of photos and interview clips that will shock, inspire,

and amuse you. This is one of several outrageous Cheryl Marie Wade films. (Not suitable for children because some of the humor may be misunderstood.) CC

The Kids are All Right 30 minutes
Have you ever wondered what the kids who were interviewed on the Jerry Lewis Telethon thought about what they did 20 years later? Now you can know. A contraversial look at the charity industry. (documentary)

Frida Kahlo’s Corset 10 minutes
A stunning, provocative look at an artist whose favorite subject was herself – for after all who can she paint best but who she knows best.

On a Roll: Family, Disability, & the American Dream 60 minutes
A man with a passion for life shares his dynamic life story with Joanne Caputo. (documentary) (Not suitable for children – brief section with sexual interaction.)

Greg Smith 6-7 PM

Greg Smith, the “Strength Coach” and syndicated “On a Roll” radio show host. Greg will discuss his film, his life, and his most recent experiences facing his family – the loss of his Mississippi home, his electric wheelchair, his adapted van and so much more to hurricane Katrina. Greg will be selling & signing his book whose profit will help his family get back on its feet. Greg has always been a powerful speaker with so much to say, who could have known that his appearance would be so timely.

EVENING FILMS beginning about 7 PM ( one or two others to be added)

An Interview with Ed Roberts – originally televised on 60 minutes. 15 minutes
Ed Roberts considered by most to be the father of the independent living movement discusses his life and how he came to value it as it was.

Dreaming Awake – 6 minutes.
John Killackery creates a never to be forgotten film using dance. (Not suitable for children – portion includes dancers in the nude.)

The Black Stork. (Also known as ” Are You Fit to Marry?)
A 1917 silent film promoting euthanasia of infants with disabilities. This was a popular film shown in movie theatres until about 1940. (Not suitable for children – discusses euthanasia without reserve and includes public medical examinations of patients semiclothed as was characteristic of the day.) This is a copy of one of the two remaining originals from the John A. Allen Historical Film Archives
1 hour 10 minutes

Presentation of the Black Stork is due to a generous contribution by Tony Filippis, Sr. of Disabled Athletes Hall of Fame and Wright & Filippis

For Up to date information go to
Email: or call (248) 295-2414

Susan Fitzmaurice
ADA Coordinator,City of Dearborn
ADA Coordinator, BW/Wayne County Center for Independent Living
Reel Life; A Disability Film Festival Founder
KatrinaDisability.Info Founder

Just honored with a Policy and Advocacy Award from the World Institute on Disability

Visit for resources to help people with disabilities or info how you can help people with disabilities. Includes a form to offer to share your accessible home with a survivor of Katrina. Up-to-date info being sent to this website from many major disabilityservice organizations and the federal government. Will post whatever information is needed to spread the word about what is happening, what is needed, and what must happen.