The experiences of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be shared when The Resource Center presents the fourth annual Sprout Film Festival on Friday, September 28.
The festival takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts at 116 East Third Street in Jamestown. Admission is free thanks to a grant from Filling the Gap, Inc., which works with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Chautauqua County.
The Sprout Film Festival features short films that celebrate the diverse lives and creativity of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The films seek to challenge assumptions and break down stereotypes about people with disabling conditions.
Sprout is a traveling film festival, and each host community selects the films that will be screened locally. For this year’s Jamestown festival, organizers have chosen 11 films. The shortest film runs about two and a half minutes, while the longest is about 17 minutes. Festival organizers
Asked if there was a theme among this year’s films, The Resource Center’s Kevin Anderson responded, “I think this year it’s really about people accepting their disability and embracing it.” He said one of his favorite films is 100% Myself, about a young woman with autism who is a rock climber.
“It’s really the Banff film festival meets the Sprout Film Festival,” said Kevin, referring to the popular Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival that comes to Jamestown each spring. “It’s inspirational to see her climbing a pretty intense rock wall.”
TRC’s Beth Jermain, another of the festival’s organizers, said some of the films – created in the United States, Australia, Ireland, and Scotland – are fun, while others are intense. One that she particularly enjoys is Between Sasquatch and Superman, a documentary about a young man with Down syndrome who has such a deep fascination with Superman that he legally changes his name to Clark in deference to Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent.
“It’s kind of great to see that his family and people who care about him just totally accept him for who he is, and they accept his new name,” Beth said.
She and Kevin said the Sprout festival will be interesting to a wide segment of the community.
“I think it’s a way to understand a large portion of our population and vital members of our community that a lot of people who don’t work on our field don’t have an opportunity to interact with,” Kevin said. “It brings a different look at what people with disabilities are able to do and their involvement in the community.”
“Sometimes when people are not mingling with people with disabilities, you don’t always understand the diversity and understand that it’s accepting who people are and celebrating that with them, as opposed to being ashamed or not knowing how to interact with people with disabilities,” Beth added.
For more information about the Sprout Film Festival, phone 485-4641 or visit www.resourcecenter.org/sprout, where visitors can also view the festival trailer to get a feel for some of the films.