In the spring of 2012, four best friends drove across the country in search of adaptive sports for individuals with physical disabilities, and lived to tell the story in a feature documentary film. From rehabilitation patients to Paralympic athletes, our cameras captured the reality of broken boundaries and common goals among all who are active. We went rock climbing with the blind, played soccer with quadriplegics, and swam with those with muscular dystrophy, to name a few. Through our journey, we learned that sports really are the great equalizer, unifying people of all abilities on a level playing field.
IF YOU BUILD IT follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what's possible.
Where God Likes to Be focuses on three young protagonists full of hope and promise-Andi Running Wolf, Edward Tailfeathers, and Douglas Fitzgerald-following them over the course of a summer that marks a turning point in all of their lives. Each grapples with whether to leave, pursuing opportunities far from home, or stay behind with friends and family potentially struggling with limited opportunity and marginalization. A picture emerges of the Blackfeet Indian reservation as a cherished home that nurtures identity.
An Elegy for South Louisiana looks at the disappearing culture and environment in Southwest Louisiana: its marshlands and man's calamitous engineering mistakes, and the unique habitat that gave rise to the Cajun and Creole, music, culture and people left in its wake. With compelling footage and expert commentary from Bob Marshall, a local Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, among others, the film documents the facades and interiors of a good number of famed but decaying dance halls. Riveting performances by leading Zydeco proponents such as Clifton Chenier and Beau Jocque are juxtaposed by thorough and thoughtful explanations such as the rapacious dredging of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet through wetlands to give oil tankers direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana, a major source of energy for the nation, is being destroyed bit by bit and the region's eco-system and marshland continues to be damaged by flooding due to both storms and river reconstruction. Like the famed music of the region, the documentary is both a love letter and a lament over the destruction of the region and by association, the decline of its culture and way of life.
A candid look at what it means to be transgender, told through an intimate portrait of trans youth advocate Tony Ferraiolo. Gender identity first appears in childhood and some kids feel that they were born in the wrong body. It is a scary time for both them and their parents as they make the transition journey from one gender to the other. This is a film about someone who helps them get there safely.
9-Man is a story about streetball battle in the heart of Chinatown featuring a chaotic, Chinese-only game played competitively in parking lots and alleys since 1938. Through revealing verite scenes, archival material and primary source interviews, the film broaches conversations about Chinatown's Bachelor Society, the Chinese Exclusion Act, cultural belonging and loss, masculinity, genetic disparity in sports, immigrant culture, the Chinatown diaspora, microaggressions, reverse racism, Asian-American identity politics, self-doubt and social isolation.
Teshya Alo is 16 years old and 125 pounds. But on the judo and wrestling mats, she throws women twice her age and pounds heavier. And she beats boys. Now, she has her sights set on taking gold at both the judo and wrestling world championships. If she does, she'd be the first and youngest athlete ever to win world championships in two different sports in the same year. But it won't be easy. The story of Hawaiian female teen wrestler/judoka Teshya Alo.