Reel Eyes 2004

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Films were shown in Anchorage at UAA, Out North Contemporary Art House, The Bear Tooth and The Anchorage Museum of History and Art. The UAA lineup included four showings. Each on a Tuesday evening in March.

March 2, 2004

History and Culture

  • When Billy Broke his Head and Other Tales of Wonder

When Billy Golfus, and award winning radio journalist, was brain-damaged as a result of a motor scooter accident ten years ago, he became one of the 43 million Americans with disabilities -- this country's largest and most invisible minority.  In this irreverent, first-person road movie, Golfus, a sort of underground Charles Kuralt, goes on the road to meet people with disabilities around the country, and witness first hand the strength and anger that is forging a new civil rights movement.  

When Billy Broke His Head blends humor with politics, and individual experience with a chorus of voices, to explore what it is really like to live with a disability in America -- where pervasive discrimination and bureaucratic "helping" systems too often keep people with disabilities trapped in a labyrinth of government rules and legislated poverty.  As Billy says, "This ain't exactly your inspirational cripple story."  It's a documentary with an attitude, which will entertain, enlighten and might even enrage its viewers. 57 minutes

  • A little history worth knowing

From ancient times to telethons to today's growing disability movement, A Little  History Worth Knowing traces the often-overlooked history of people with disabilities. A Little  History Worth Knowing reviews historical stereotypes, media stereotypes, and the effect of today's technology on people's ability to work and live independently. 22:41


March 9, 2004

Representations in Film and TV

  • Freaks

Among classic horror films, Freaks stands alone is one of the most grotesque and the most controversial. Rarely seen since its 1932 release, and banned in Britain for 30 years, it has achieved cult status as the masterpiece of the macabre.  The film features a cast of actual sideshow freaks, human beings of every conceivable physical aberration.  Yet the film soon reveals that the normal members of the traveling carnival are the true monsters; pitiless, conniving and murderous!  When one beautiful trapeze artists discovers one of the freaks has a small fortune, she lures him into marriage.  But when she and her strongman lover plot to kill him after the wedding, the enraged freaks defend their friend and take revenge on their betrayers, transforming the aerialist into the most hideous sideshow attraction of all.  From the acclaimed director of the original  Dracula, Todd Browning, Freaks is a fascinating drama of prejudice and injustice with provocative and timeless morals. 1 Hour 5Minutes

  • South Park (abstract not available)


March 16, 2004


  • Double the Trouble, Twice the Fun

This enlightening video dispels the myth that all disabled people are unhappy or have no sexual identity.  It also looks at the difficulties of enduring prejudice as both the disabled and gay person. The rare and lively examination of disability and homosexuality as it affects both men and women, Double the Trouble, Twice the Fun, advocates for acceptance rather than pity for the participants in this video.  Interviews with a wide range of disabled lesbian and gay people are intercut with dramatic recreations and performances. 25 minutes

  • Untold Desires

Untold Desires highlights the struggle that people with disabilities face in their quest to be recognized as sexual beings, free to express their sexuality and lead sexually active lives.  In the sometimes sensitive area of sexuality, people with disabilities find that their own needs are often subverted by the conservative values of those who provide essential care. They are also sharply conscious of how they are seen by others.  Untold Desires allows these people to speak about issues which confront them: choice, privacy, the right to have sexual relationships and the right to have children.  They speak frankly about their experiences in search of sexually fulfilled lives.  Their honesty is sometimes raw, but always deeply moving.  The film offers positive images for people with disabilities and breaks down stereotypes that render the disabled person non-sexual in the eyes of the non-disabled world. 53 Minutes

  • Here by Cheryl Marie Wade

Here shows activist Cheryl Marie Wade performing live and onstage.  Her programs include themes regarding the intrusive childhood she was forced to endure due to her disabilities, differences, her love of rain, a moving poem about her hands, and others. After her performance, Cheryl talks to the audience about the importance of community and the love she feels for her friends. 13:30 minutes


March 23, 2004

Athletes and Artists

  • How We Play

This engaging video profiles several people with disabilities leading physically active lives.  Although most of those we see in this video documentary are in wheelchairs, and one is blind, they are anything but handicapped.  Playing tennis, snorkeling, whitewater canoeing, practicing karate -- they are living proof that disability can be a challenge, not an obstacle.  This inspiring video will encourage people with disabilities to enjoy recreational activities, as well as motivating all viewers, with or without physical limitations, to develop their strengths and adopt new challenges. 11 Minutes

  • Midnight Sun Wheelchair Marathon

This video takes a journey from the start to the completion of the 1993 Midnight Sun Wheelchair Marathon and adds a little history along the way. The inaugural 1984 race from Fairbanks to Anchorage had two competitors.  In 1993, there were 13 men from all over the globe. The  Midnight Sun Wheelchair Marathon is recognized as the most physically and mentally demanding race in all wheelchair sports.  This race covers 800 miles which also makes it the longest wheelchair race anywhere in the world.  Temperatures can range from 30 degrees in the mountain passages to 90 degrees in the arctic tundra.  It rains an average of 6 days during the race.  Two types of competitors enter this race: the racers who enter to win and the racers attempting to finish.  The racers start together each morning and race in daily stages of approximately 40 miles each.  The winner is the person who makes it to Anchorage with the lowest daily accumulation time. 45 Minutes

March 30, 2004

A Global Perspective

  • Mistreating the Mentally Ill

There are 250 million seriously mentally ill people the world over and no society - rich or poor - has devised a humane system of care.  This program focuses on the U.S., Japan, India, and Egypt, examining how each culture sees mental illness and treats the less accepted members of society.  In general, Japan locks its patients up for long periods in predominantly for-profit institutions where they are often subject to brutal treatment; the U.S., with the best of intentions, casts many of its mentally ill out on the streets, or into vast shelters with little hope of receiving care; India treats less than 10 percent of those who need care, with occasional oases of good community care contrasting with examples of inhumane conditions in psychiatric hospitals; while in Egypt, rural traditions which tolerate the mentally ill are being submerged in industrialization, and one of Cairo's largest private mental hospitals is run as a business by the president of the World Federation of Mental Health.  The program concludes that the problem is not merely shortage of funds, but indifference of society to the mentally ill. 56 Minutes

  • Business as Usual

Like anyone else, most people with disabilities want and, given the right opportunities, are perfectly able to be self-supporting.  Yet throughout the world, society's attitudes have often relegated them to menial, poorly paid jobs, or to live on charity.  This video brings a unique international perspective to the struggle for equality and independence.  In Jamaica, Canada, Kenya, and the Philippines, the stories of people with physical and mental disabilities who  have created and who now own and operate successful, profitable businesses which provide employment, income and self-reliance for themselves and others. 39 minutes

  • Disabled Women Visions and Voices

Disabled Women: Visions and Voices is a photo and audio documentary celebrating the experiences and accomplishments of disabled women at the First International Symposium on Issues of Women with Disabilities, the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women and NGO Forum held in Beijing, China in the Fall of 1995.  Disabled women from around the world passionately share their concerns and successes.  Their stories demonstrate the diversity and commonality of women's issues. 12 Minutes. Open Captioned