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This Ability

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"I do have words. I may not know how to say them right, but I'm just beginning to say them." - Filmmaker Michelle McDonald

This Ability is an innovative filmmaking project that puts the tools of media creation directly into the hands of adults with developmental disabilities. Formed as a partnership between the National Film Board of Canada and the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI), with support from Philia and the United Way, the aim was to move away from videos that merely observe people with disabilities, towards ones that give an inside perspective on the human experience of disability.

Through regular workshops and hands-on training, the filmmakers in the This Ability Media Club developed the skills to tell their own stories in their own way. Filmmaker Lorna Boschman worked over the course of a year with a dedicated group of six to eight people, meeting weekly, building a relationship and helping them become comfortable with the cameras and other technical gear they would need to make their own films.

The completed short films, included in their entirety on this DVD, are Michelle McDonald's ode to arachnids, Be Kind to Spiders and Shannon Leclair's exuberant celebration of her volunteer work at a local coffee shop, I Love My Job! Sean Craig gives us an introspective glimpse into a life buoyed by family and singing in his film Life Patterns; and self-advocate Gerry Juzenas interviews his friend Richard McDonald about his former life in an institution in Community Courage. Rounding out the six films are Fishing With My Father by Watson Moy, where Watson and his Dad share stories and memories of the fishing trips they have enjoyed together; and Strenghths and Weaknesses, in which director Ginger Gibbons reveals how her work in a video store confirms the importance of being involved in your community.

2006, 29 min 18 s

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