Slamdance Film Festival 2021 offered a wonderful series of short films under their first-ever Unstoppable Program highlighting films made by and featuring people with disabilities (PWD). Impressive are their stories. Here below are a couple examples, as well as the already-posted short film Feeling Through.
Filmmaker Sheldon Chau directs actor Antonio Garcia Jr., in a very believable story scripted by Antonio in Flying Eggs. Located in Brooklyn, New York, a teenage boy named Chris (Christopher M. Lopes) delights terrorizing people who pass by his building by throwing eggs at them.
Every day Chris looks for a guy who runs past his building during a morning exercise. We later find out his name is Tony (Antonio Garcia Jr.).
The first time Tony experienced the Flying Egg he was surprised but just kept running. The next time it happened he yelled up to whoever was doing this and told them it wasn't funny. It was dangerous! It continued to happen for a few days straight. Tony was angry and threatened the unseen person if he did it again, he'd be up to their apartment looking for them to get revenge.
True to form it happens the following day and Tony is up the stairs of the apartment building in a flash. What Tony discovers, after finding the culprit, is a situation that is for him life altering. The encounter will forever change the lives of both the culprit, Chris and Tony.
Filmmaker Cory Reeder writes, directs and produces his short Best Friend originally produced as part of the 2017 Easter Seals Disability Film Challenge. It earned nominations in all four Easter Seals competition categories, winning two awards, including best picture. It went on to screen at forty more festivals, winning eight more awards. Reeder is honored that Slamdance Film Festival 2021, has chosen Best Friend to screen in the festival's first-ever Unstoppable Program showcasing films made by and featuring people with disabilities (PWD).
Reeder shares, "Seven years ago, while directing Unlikely Temptations with Nic Novicki, actor and disabilities advocate, I was educated on the lack of PWD representation in media." Influenced by actress and activist, Diana Elizabeth Jordan showing him the enormous lack of disability inclusion in TV/Film, Reeder is now an advocate for the same cause. Adding, "From that moment, everything I produce and direct includes PWD cast and crew." Reeder goes on to explain that while his creative process includes PWD, it became more real to be inclusive because he is now among the PWD after a diagnosis with adult ADHD. He notes, "For seven years, while driven to represent others, I myself am now having to explore my personal representation with a learning disability."
Reeder's most recent film HYPER ACTIVE was produced in 2020. In 2019, his production of I Can, won best film at the Easter Seals Disability Film Challenge.
A family moves to Los Angeles from across the country. Their daughter Deidre (Gitane Neil) has Down Syndrome. Mom, Jessica (Kim Kendall) and dad, Max (Robert Buscemi) are hopeful their new neighbors in Hollywood will help them acclimate into their new environment easily considering their needs. Unfortunately, the ease is not immediate. Deidre longs for just one person she can call friend. After meeting Alvie (Andrew Julian Alvarado) she eventually finds not one but two friends which she could never have imagined.