Arthouse Garage Podcast

Podcast Transcript for Episode 46: Crip Camp

Read the Podcast Transcript for Episode 46: Crip Camp

Read the transcript below:

Andrew Sweatman 0:08
Hello, hello and welcome to art house garage, the snob free film Podcast, where we make art house indie classic and foreign cinema accessible to the masses. I’m your host Andrew sweat Minh, and we’ve got another great documentary to discuss on the show today. For this season of the podcast, we’re looking at some of the best films of 2020. And this one played Sundance in early 2020. before hitting Netflix in March, the film is crip camp, a disability revolution, directed by Nicole nuneham and James lebrecht. And it tells the story of a remarkable summer camp called Camp Jeanette, that operated in New York State in the 70s. This camp was designed for teens with disabilities. That film contains footage of the camp, and we get to know several of the campers, and then we follow them and see what they did in the decades following. And it is remarkable. The film has tons of info on disability advocacy in the history of people with disabilities, fighting for fair treatment, and makes a strong case that this fight is far from over. It’s also incredibly entertaining. It’s funny, it’s endearing, as we witnessed these relationships between several of the campers and where they go over the years. In the previous episode of this podcast, I introduced a new segment called the snob free glossary where I defined terms and gave context to the films and filmmakers mentioned in the episode. Well, this is a new feature, and I’m still figuring out exactly how it will work. And it turns out, we probably won’t need it every time. There’s not really any outside information needed for this episode. So we’ll just get right into it. My guest today is Carrie Michael. Carrie does a lot of things. She works for a film organization called made in Arkansas, which we will discuss briefly. She’s a yoga instructor, and she’s a movie nerd like myself. She also works for Disability Rights, Arkansas. So I immediately thought of her when I watched this movie. And I knew she’d be a good person to have on the show with her combination of disability knowledge and cinema love. Welcome to the podcast. Carrie, Michael, how have you been?

Kerri Michael 2:13
Really well, thank you. Thanks so much for having me. Happy New Year.

Andrew Sweatman 2:17
Yes, thank you Same to you. It’s, it’s finally of 2020 is over. But you know, as the podcast continues, where there’s been as crazy as a year as 2020 was, there was quite a few really good movies. So I have for like weeks more 2020 movies to go on the podcast. So we’re gonna stick with that today. But yeah, well, thanks for being here. And you know, one of the things you do is you help run made in Arkansas. And so I’m curious. Yeah, that’s last time you were here. That’s what we were talking about. What’s the latest with making our main in Arkansas, anything new going on there?

Kerri Michael 2:53
Well, we’re still accepting submissions on filmfreeway. So I hope that filmmakers will continue to submit their work. We’ve got some really great entries so far. And we’re really excited. We’re hoping we’re hoping, Andrew, we’re hoping for in person. Yeah, yeah. But we are planning for virtual. So we’re, you know, either way, this thing is happening. And it’s happening may 13, through 15th. of this year, we’re hoping we’re going to be back at the Ron Robinson. You know, so so everybody fingers crossed that, that, that we get this pandemic behind us enough to do that. But you know, we are going to add a few new elements this year. I mean, we’re just like last year, and this was hugely successful, we were really excited. We’re going to be accepting regional films again this year. And of course, filmmakers who have a connection to Arkansas, either were educated here, or from here, um, that are now out of state will continue to welcome those submissions. And then we’re adding a few new awards, we’re going to be adding best micro short, we’re loving micro shorts right now and in, you know, so we’re going to be able to do some of those adding distinctions for Best Director, Best Actor and Actress, Best Cinematography and screenplay. So, you know, we’re hoping that kind of adding that little element where we actually had a lot of people who wanted to know if we were going to be doing awards for screenplay. So yeah, I’m excited to tell you that we’re adding this year. So you know, we’re really really excited and it’s been a really challenging year for for the film community. You know, it will. It’s been really hard to make a film, although as you put it, it’s really been easy to watch a film. So yeah, that’s sort of the scoop but we are Really excited about our third year. And, you know, hope everybody will join us, hoping filmmakers will submit and that film lovers will join us for some great some great lineups again this year.

Andrew Sweatman 5:14
Great. Well, yes, I will definitely link to the film freeway there. So people can click straight from the podcast if they’re listening. And they’re like, Oh, I have a film I can put in. So please do that. But yes, I’ve just, you know, it has been easy to watch these things virtually. And even like, I think I’m gonna be able to do it a day of Sundance this coming up this month, which is exciting, because it’s virtual. I can do it at home. But I am longing to get back into Ron Robinson or anywhere really? watch something on the big screen. So fingers crossed. Oh, yes. Well, alright, that’s great. I guess without further ado, let’s get into crip camp.

Unknown Speaker 5:52
And what happens when two people got cramps and winning Google very hyper bad, and I have to go shower some people.

Unknown Speaker 6:03
I wanted to be part of the world. But I didn’t see anyone like to hear about a summer care for the handicapped run by hairpiece. Somebody said, you probably will smoke dope with the counselors. And I was like, sign me up.

Unknown Speaker 6:19
And find yourself there I was, I was I

Unknown Speaker 6:24
wouldn’t be picked to be on the team back home. But at the back. Yeah, we help empower

Unknown Speaker 6:32
each other.

Unknown Speaker 6:34
It was allowing us to recognize that the status quo is not what it needed to be.

Unknown Speaker 6:41
The world always wants us did we live with that reality. At the time, so many kids just like me, were being sent to institutions. It was just a continual struggle.

Unknown Speaker 6:53
Several people like myself are unable to

Unknown Speaker 6:56
use public transportation. We needed a civil rights law of our own

Unknown Speaker 7:04
rehabilitation program has been vetoed by the president because it was cost prohibitive,

Unknown Speaker 7:08
we’re gonna have a demonstration, you get the call to action to the barricades.

Unknown Speaker 7:14
A small army of the handicapped have occupied this building for the past 11 days,

Unknown Speaker 7:18
so many people from camps and then found their way into the building. The FBI cut off the phones, the deaf people went, we know what to do. That’s how we communicated to the people outside the building, the Black Panther Party would bring a hot meal, we were like this, we are the strongest political force, and

Kerri Michael 7:36
we will no longer allow the government to affect the table individuals. And I would appreciate it if you would stop shaking your head in agreement when I don’t think they want to stay on what we are talking about.

Unknown Speaker 7:50
We saw that camp was that our lives can be better.

Kerri Michael 7:57
If you don’t demand what you believe in for yourself.

Unknown Speaker 8:02
You’re not gonna get it. I

Unknown Speaker 8:08
like to see handicapped people depicted as people. Excuse me.

Andrew Sweatman 8:21
Alright, let’s talk about crip camp. So this is a documentary that the subtitle for that is crip camp, a disability revolution. And this movie I heard, you know, when it came out, I heard some buzz around it. And then at the end of 2020, was getting some documentary awards. And so I knew this was a significant movie. And basically, this tells a story, this summer camp, that was in New York, New York state that was just this kind of amazing, safe haven for disabled people. And so this documentary shows that setting, we meet a lot of the people there. Explain why that was so significant. And then we watch years. I mean, for basically from then to now, what’s been happening with several of the people that attended this camp, and the enormous changes they’ve made in society. It’s pretty amazing. And I knew some of this history, but I didn’t not know. And nearly all of it, and being able to just witness it firsthand was pretty remarkable. So yeah, that’s kind of the basic setup of what crip camp is about. This is kind of a general question, but what did you think of this movie? Did you like it? What was your general impression of it?

Kerri Michael 9:32
You know, I mean, I really did like it. And I, you know, I was already excited to watch it. Because as you know, and as we’ve talked about, I work for a disability rights organization. And so I had already, you know, as you noted, I knew some of the major kind of milestones around the civil rights movement for people with disability. So so I kind of went in you know, with that perspective, but This, this film, I was so impressed, because it centered and you don’t see this a lot, it’s centered the experience of people with disabilities so thoroughly. The whole story was told, from their own perspective, and I love that while these people, you know, while these people went to this camp, and it became sort of this catalyst for, you know, these major, major advances in disability, you know, the civil rights of people with disabilities, it really focused first on sort of the human experience. In most cases, some of these kids first ever experience of going to a place where they could be seen for who they were, apart from, like, you know, like, not defined by their disability, but completely welcomed, you know, as as part of who they were. And it’s that in itself is pretty revolutionary, particularly for the time, but it really focused first on their humanity before it went into the amazing story of of, you know, sort of their civil rights, you know, work that it just focused on that they got to be kids, it was so great to see that.

Andrew Sweatman 11:27
Absolutely. Yeah, I completely agree. I think it’s like the, the opening line of the movie, basically, it shows some recording equipment, and then it has its someone at this camp, remember which character or which person it is, but they say, Would you like to see handicapped people depicted as people? And that that really sets the stage and tells exactly what this movie is going to be like? The director, one of the CO directors, his name is James lebrecht. And he, if I’m hope I’m pronouncing that right. But he attended this camp. And so it’s very much got that on its mind. I think that’s great. Yeah, I forgot to mention, like, you work for a disability organization. That’s part of why I wanted you to talk about this movie with me. And I have a personal connection as well to disability. Two of my very favorite people in the world have disabilities. That’s my kids, Rosie and Bo. And so for that reason to I was really drawn to this movie and wanted to watch it. Yeah, I agree. I found it really moving and really just well made, like a ton of archival footage, that they, it explains kind of where they dug it up from. But I think it it does such a good job at raising awareness and in a variety of ways. Like, there are some kind of ins and outs of disability culture that I didn’t know about, and just different things about advocacy that like I think I’d been vaguely aware of, but I feel like it really caught me up to speed on some things. Like the way that there’s there can be this kind of nasty hierarchy within disability. They talked about that a few times, about, you know, depending on how able bodied you are. There’s this favoritism that can happen within disabled circles. And so they kind of shine a light on that. And what a problem that is. They don’t shy away from the fact that disabled people are sexual people too. And that was very much part of the culture of this camp. I like that they include that. Because that is something I think that that as I’ve learned more about ableism having a daughter with a disability, I think that’s part of the fear of disabled people is the fear their sexuality as well. So that’s, that’s a part of this movie, it talks about all the advocacy things going through the years. And then I thought there was another cool connection, one of the counselors was a man of color. And he, he talked about his experience of getting off the bus having he I think he was from Alabama, having never been around a disabled person in his life, and just feeling overwhelmed. But then he becomes kind of a staple at this camp. And then it shows him honest. Yeah. Yeah, he is incredibly honest. And I think that’s, that’s part of the this whole movie, I think, is really honest. Because I think there’s the issue between able bodied people and disabled people is the fear of the disabled people, right? The issue is on on the table. And this movie makes no bones about that. And he, yes, he talks about that fear. And then he’s being interviewed modern day or in the last few years. And he talks about when he went back to society that he realized a lot of the same struggles that he was facing as a person of color. Or he was seeing the similarities there. And he talks about that in depth about, you know, I feel like I can’t be myself all the time. And there’s this thing that defines me in the eyes of the world. And so I thought that was an interesting comparison as well. But yeah, just of all those specific ways that it It raises awareness. I think the most effective thing is just exposure because it really immerses you in this world and I think just the experience of watching it. I can’t even say personally, like, there’s characters. I don’t know if the word character applies is real people. But there’s one young woman named What’s her name? Nancy? I believe No, no, Denise, Denise, she, I believe she has cerebral palsy. And she, she hurt her speeches in just speech impediment. And the the film of subtitle when she’s speaking. And even from the beginning to the end of the movie, it was just amazing how much more comfortable I grew with, with her the her style of speaking and more customed to it, you know, that initially, it’s, there’s a It feels like there’s a little bit of a barrier there. But after an hour and a half of watching this, and hearing her repeat repeatedly through the film, was that barrier is all within me, and I have to let that guard down and at the end of the movie, it’s like I have no trouble understanding her at all. And I thought that was a pretty amazing thing. And I think an effective way that this this movie. Yeah, raises awareness through through immersion. I guess.

Kerri Michael 16:09
That’s a really that’s a bit that’s beautifully put. I thought it was so interesting. Nancy Rosen bloom, is it Rosenblum roses. Oh, it’s Yeah, yeah, she but yeah, so she has cerebral palsy. You mentioned earlier the archival footage, and I thought that so? Um, well, I guess Gosh, lucky now. Like like that they were able to put this together using all this amazing footage that the people’s video theater had gone with recording equipment and, but but one of the scenes in the film that struck me. And it’s so subtle. I mean, and here’s what I love about this film is that it didn’t really hit you over the head. It wasn’t you know, it didn’t pull at your heartstrings. It just allowed you to see people’s reality in a way that was extremely humanizing without being saccharin or. I mean, it was just so centered on

Andrew Sweatman 17:07
no big like, sentimental music, trying to draw your tears out. In fact, it really leans into the Woodstock, like hippie music kind of thing. And in that, it kind of explains how that really was part of the culture that led to this activism. But anyway, go on

Kerri Michael 17:19
was exactly that it was this huge thing. And it was and it was so influential, you know, that, that we got a window into and yes, it also influenced these kids with disabilities as deeply as it did the broader society and why wouldn’t it but, um, but it was so interesting. So the people’s video theater came and they and they just let kids talk and they were super real. These you know, and you’ve gotten a sense of these weren’t infantilized, you know, as we tend to do people with disabilities, you know, these were adolescence, fully in their, you know, you know, kind of bridge to adulthood. But, um, but Nancy, there’s a scene where Nancy is talking there, there, there’s a huge group of kids, and the interviewers are talking about if you could tell your parents something, if you could, you know, get like a message to your parents. And Nancy begins to speak. And as you noted, it’s difficult to understand her, you have to really, you know, you have to really concentrate and you have to really listen deeply. And they gave her the mic. They let her say, everything she had to say, no one cut her off. No one tried to translate no one. I mean, and that was that. And then the next kid spoke. And while you know, and well, then the next kid did, I think, you know, just, you know, clarify a couple things that Nancy said, I was so struck by her ability to just express herself to take as long as she needed to take to do it. And, you know, and that we got and that we got to watch that I you know, I just thought that sort of was emblematic to me of of the whole approach to the film.

Andrew Sweatman 19:16
Yeah. And then the filmmakers were making you have the experience to go ahead. Yeah,

Kerri Michael 19:20
yeah, no, I just thought it was brilliant, the way they just let her go. And we needed, you know, I mean, and we should do that.

Andrew Sweatman 19:27
Yeah. It really gives you that experience as a viewer, because it doesn’t subtitle that that moment, because it is difficult to understand. And I think, too, I’m getting Nancy and Denise mixed up. So Nancy, that’s Nancy, that was in that scene. And then Denise and Neil are married, and they had the camp, and I think they both also have cerebral palsy. So that’s, I was getting those two just to be mixed up. But yeah, I think that scene is really powerful. I think that’s actually so my next question for you is going to be Is there a moment in this that you found particularly affecting emotions, And I’ll go ahead and say that that scene, not because of the what you’re noting, but because in that scene, they’re talking about their parents. And that’s my experience, you know, I’m a parent of a, my kids are young, just five and six years old, but that the way they’re, but they’re talking about the frustrations they have with their parents and how they’re overprotective sometimes, and they don’t let them be their own person. And, you know, I’m not there yet, I don’t think but it just reflect it caused me to really reflect on just how much parents affect their children in, in any parent child relationship. And I watched this before my kids got up in the morning, and I just went and hugged them tight after, and it just really, I think it, it’s gonna be something I have to sit with, and just really reflect on. So I thought that was a really great moment. Yeah, go ahead. Did Did you have any moment in this, that was, you felt like a particularly emotional moment for you?

Kerri Michael 20:53
There. There were a couple. But but one that really struck me was later in the film, during sort of the, you know, the episode where they, this group of people with disabilities who were led by, you know, a few of the campers, you know, the people who had been campers, and we’re now, um, so that, you know, they had staged, you know, a couple weeks long sit in, I mean, it was quite long in the fight to have section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, signed in for not just signed, because it had been signed, but it wasn’t being enforced. And one woman says, something along the lines of like, we live every day with the reality that the world wants us dead. And that just kind of made me suck my breath back into my chest. You know, I guess, because I, still people with disabilities are having to, you know, even after 504 was, you know, recognized and people in, you know, you started seeing more accessibility and education, things that got federal funding, and then you had the ADA. And us, you know, but But still, and I could talk about this till I’m blue out, but, you know, but we’re, but we’re still seeing that there hasn’t been, in many areas, that societal shift that is needed, where you recognize a person’s entire personhood and where you are welcoming people with disabilities into, you know, full membership into the community. And it’s, you know, you’re still seeing, you know, and certainly where, where we are, where we live, and, you know, in other places, so much institutionalization still. Put people away, don’t think about them. And so and so, this woman was not being melodramatic. She was always seeing a practical reality that it’s like, you know, the broader society operates from the idea that we are really inconvenient to have around. And yeah, that that really hit me between the eyes.

Andrew Sweatman 23:32
Yeah, I completely agree. And actually, that is exactly the moment I was going to talk about next. I had to moments kind of listed that parent moment and then then that exactly, that that phrasing of I had never heard it put so bluntly, you know, the world wants us dead. And as I consider that, I was like, that is true. That’s not just her reality like that is that is the way to save people a truce are treated and, and the other moment that really was hard to watch was the moment when it shows the inside of an institution and what it’s like there. And I think those moments go hand in hand because that that kind of gives credence to what she’s saying. That That really is that that is a reality for for so many people in this country. And yeah, it’s it’s breathtaking to hear it put that bluntly, but it makes you wrestle with it and realize, yeah, that that really is true. So yes, that is my second moment that I was going to bring up. Yeah,

Kerri Michael 24:30
no, there was one more that that just struck me and it’s you know, sometimes you see people you know, you so rarely get a window into this, you know, how hard it is to fight for one’s right to exist, you know, like, I’ve had very few experiences where I’ve been confronted with that, you know, I suspect that the same may be true For you, and so when, when they were, you know, when they were doing they had gone all the way up to 1990. And they were fighting for the ADA. And they did the crawl at the Capitol or

Unknown Speaker 25:19
capital all crawl, yeah,

Kerri Michael 25:20
the capital crop. So you know, the visual of people who typically need a wheelchair in order to move around, getting out of their chairs and actually trying to make their way up the stairs of the capital, a lot of steps to prove the point, you know, about how important accessibility to, you know, accessibility is across the board. And was just and it wasn’t easy to do there were, you know, older people doing it, there was one child doing it made her way all the way up those steps. And, you know, you just thought, What are you willing to work that hard for? Yeah.

Andrew Sweatman 26:06
Yeah, it’s a stunning visual. I didn’t know that, that that occurred. But it’s, I mean, it’s a brilliant form of adequate advocacy, to really show the world like, here’s, here’s what, here’s why we need equal treatment. You know, I thought that was a great guy, which is a really powerful moment, like, yeah, right towards the end of this film. But, yeah, well, I felt like there was just so much to say about this movie that, that I found educational that I, apart from just the advocacy sides of things, like I didn’t know that these things happen historically. Was there anything like that for you? That that was just like, a history lesson that stood out to you.

Kerri Michael 26:46
You know, I I’m, I knew about all of these, you know, different kind of flashpoints. You know, I was aware of Willowbrook, for example, you made mention of the, the, you know, the horrible institution. And of course, the awareness about Willowbrook came about because there was a, an expo, believe it or not, Geraldo Rivera. I know, it was just like, Oh, there he is. There’s Geraldo Rivera, but he did a really important Expo say, of Willowbrook, which is, was an institution in upstate New York. And that Expo, they kind of broke wide open how institutions in you know, at least in this context, that you know, and certainly this Willowbrook was probably the rule, rather than the exception. We’re where people with disabilities were simply warehouse. I mean, it’s just atrocious. So well over. Oh, just horrifying. But, um, but that, you know, the discovery of that sort of the and I, you know, like air quoting, discovery, discovery, gave rise to the protection and advocacy system, that disability rights where I work is a part of and, you know, so the reason that these organizations now exist, is because of it, you know, institutions like that, but I didn’t know you know, certainly that the groundswell for that. And I didn’t know how closely connected the the 504 fight, the Willowbrook thing, you know that, how closely connected, all of this was with sort of the same groups of advocates like, you know, these people worked for decades, the same people. I mean, of course, they built a huge movement, and I thought it was neat, by the way, speaking of like, did, you know, my kind of did you know, me, so I knew about all those, you know, kind of big benchmarks in disability rights history, but what I didn’t know, were some of the details that were so fascinating. For example, I didn’t know just how much support this movement had from other civil rights movements, that super interesting. Panthers made sure that the that the folks got fed when they were doing this sit in in San Francisco, the Panthers came and fed them and, you know, like, you know, organizations that were that were on, like, this is frontline gay rights work, like, you know, we’re standing in solidarity with them like I you know, I didn’t know those things and I yeah, that was

Andrew Sweatman 29:34
it. So I guess it was like the the state offices that that they were sitting in and then the mayor’s office was was supporting them to you I thought that was interesting as well. Like they were sending them I think some food and supplies. Yeah. And then then it was the story about it was that the gay hair cutter who came in and and wash their hair. real neat that they had and yeah, it’s just amazing how you see different marginalized groups band together in some of these moments. Yeah. Did not know better. I went down that way. The thing I was gonna say was like I had heard about the city and I didn’t, hadn’t seen footage of it. But I did not realize what an importance the media played in it. And that kind of, along with the Willowbrook thing, it just goes to show like public awareness is really what is needed in a lot of cases, because they did this whole sit in for, what, 25 days or something. And it wasn’t until it was accidentally on national news that that they actually made a difference was that what’s his name, Khalifa no californio signed the documents is because of a technician strike, ABC couldn’t play the national news. So they were playing different local stations, and it just happened to be on national news, because of the strike. And that was the thing that pushed him to sign the document, that that blew my mind, it was so amazing, because it really took both sides, like without this huge sit, and there would have been no news story. But then without this fluke, to have massive public awareness, it wouldn’t have been enough pressure on this politician to do the right things. I thought that was pretty incredible.

Kerri Michael 31:06
And it’s still true. I mean, it’s still true, it’s so easy to say, you know, we can’t make these accommodations because they’re too expensive, or, you know, we need to do this, because of that, or whatever. And it really speaks to kind of this sort of people with disabilities are very used to being pushed aside. And their needs not really being considered because they’re inconvenient and expensive, and, you know, burden some blah, blah, blah. But, um, and, and so very often what it takes is these major media, you know, it takes media exposure. Yeah, sometimes, because, you know, you can bring it to the attention of policymakers. And until they have, you know, until they have until there is the will, you know, the public will to pay attention. It’s easy not to, and so, you know, and so these folks have had to scrap and scraped for every advance that they’ve gotten, and and of course, having to battle their own bodies along the way. Yeah.

Andrew Sweatman 32:18
Yeah, that’s an amazing point, too, is that it’s okay, we’ll get the document signed, okay. Now we have to protest to though enforce it. And then they had to do another protest, so that they wouldn’t repeal it. Like, it’s like one step forward, two steps back sometimes, and they have to keep fighting in these hard ways. It’s pretty remarkable. Yeah.

Kerri Michael 32:37
I mean, it’s, and it was in here, again, you know, it was inspiring, I mean, it just that level of sustained effort is incredibly inspiring, without being capitalized, inspiring. And here’s the inspiring music. And here’s the sweeping camera work. And most of this was archival footage, that wasn’t particularly artfully shot, you know, but since this is a film thing, you know, if you’ll indulge me the way through, it was pretty brilliant. To bring this movement in with other civil rights movements in really, you know, without taking without taking anything away from this was a disability, let you know, people with disability led movement. Yeah, um, you know, you, you mentioned Lionel from Alabama. And, you know, kind of how later, he talks a bit about, you know, and of course, Lionel, as I understand, it did not have a disability. This was his first exposure to people with disabilities, as you noted, but But later, he reflects and describes his life back in Alabama, where it was like, you know, and Lionel black and, you know, he was like, you knew don’t look alike man in the eye, Joe, you know, you learned how to get through, he said, and I could see that same. You know, I could see those qualities, you know, where it’s just you learn to manage the world around you the way you can manage it.

Andrew Sweatman 34:02
Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s a brilliant stroke to draw those connections between those different groups, because I think that’s when I so this is one of those things where like, I wasn’t really keyed into this until it affected me personally. And that’s, you know, that’s to my shame. But when I started learning about just the the, the challenges disabled person’s face, and, and realizing there’s all these different advocacy groups, but this is so often left out of the conversation. And it’s there’s I think there’s a number of reasons for that. But I think by drawing the comparison, yeah, bringing in here’s the Black Panthers supporting them, here’s this LGBT groups supporting them. That that’s a way of saying like this is as important as all these other things and trying to reach the largest she Judy, who’s such an amazing leader. She started the organization that I’m blanking on the name of but she was at the camp and was a major figure in this movie. She has a moment where she’s, she says this is the largest minority group in America, people with disabilities. And yeah, and it just feels like it’s so often goes overlooked when we’re making sure that everyone’s included, you know, and I think that was something for me that once I had Rosie and and really started understanding this more, I realized that, you know, there’s we can’t have full inclusion until everyone’s included, right like that. That’s the whole point. And, and so it, it really kind of spurred me on to, like, pay more attention to everyone who’s being marginalized. So anyway, I’m kind of getting off on a tangent, but I thought that was a an effective part of this as well.

Kerri Michael 35:43
Oh, absolutely. I mean, we just, you know, it being around people with disabilities, and, and the refrain is often nothing about us without us, like, Don’t make decisions about us without our input. And and, you know, our, you know, our society’s tendency is to infantilize people with disabilities to make policy, either about them, or to leave them out of the policy equation all together. And, um, you know, the, this film really drives the point home about, you know, my experience matters. My, you know, I have a rich experience. I have challenges you’ve never considered, and it is important that you hear me, and you know, before you make decisions that impact my daily life, yeah. Like, I’m not gonna sit by and not let you hear from me on this.

Andrew Sweatman 36:46
Yeah. It takes amazing, like speaking truth to power. And we see some there’s a moment with Judy, that’s, she’s speaking directly to this politician. And she is calling him out because he, you know, he’s like nodding, as if you know, he’s in agreement with her. And she’s like, and I wish you wouldn’t be nodding, because I don’t think you agree with the things that I’m saying. But you need to and it’s amazing, the the fire that she brings to those things, and I was

Kerri Michael 37:09
so proud of her.

Andrew Sweatman 37:11
Yeah, it’s an amazing moment. Well, we’ve talked a lot about this. Do you have any kind of final takeaways I have one, one more thing to add. But yeah, do you have anything else?

Kerri Michael 37:21
Yeah. I mean, I, you know, I guess the takeaway that I have is that, you know, this isn’t over, you know, the fight to D institutionalize continues, and the work to change society’s perceptions of people with disabilities, and who they are and what they can do. And how we define them, you know, is still very much underway. Yeah. Um, and, you know, so yeah, my takeaway is, you know, from that was that those people laid groundwork that is, that is very much needed now. But this is a very much kind of To be continued sort of story.

Andrew Sweatman 38:08
Absolutely. I think that the movie makes that point well, to even with every step along the way, it’s like, Yes, we did something. But there’s so much more to do. And I think that the continuing drive that from each point of advocacy through this data absolutely carries on to today and going forward. So it’s speaking about public perception, a movie like this, hopefully, can can make a big impact. So tell your friends to watch this movie, because I think it’s, it does a good job at getting people up to speed, I think is a good jumping off point. Like, you’re not gonna necessarily be an expert after watching this, but you’re gonna know so much more than you might have before. And it’s, it might be a jumping off point to continue learning and listening to to disabled advocates, and actually

Kerri Michael 38:52
flex your empathy muscle. Absolutely.

Unknown Speaker 38:55

Andrew Sweatman 38:57
And then the only other thing I wanted to say was, I think that the structure of this is really well done. Because basically, the first third I think, is, is about the camp and it it really hits home what a safe place this was. And so many other people said that it was life changing, because that for the first time, it was like, this, this thing about me isn’t the only thing about me. And then person after person said something along those lines of having this space where I didn’t have to be embarrassed about anything or no one treated me in a way that was different. Because you know, everyone there are that that was just the culture there because most of the campers were people with disabilities. And from that point, then going into all this advocacy stuff, and you can you see the same people all the time. And so I think it really shows a how important that safe place is, and be what a difference that makes because it was going across the country, so many of them showed up in California and we’re living there and just this tight knit group, which is so interesting that it was this this one little kind of Oasis sparked so much change. And then we see these people change the world in really big ways. And so I think that just the importance of being seen and heard, and having those safe places, is really made made clear by this movie in a way that I thought was was pretty cool. And then it also made me think about, for all the people that, that have the safe place in this movie that go on to make the difference. There’s so many that don’t, you know, there’s so many people that were in those institutions and that are still silenced and don’t have the opportunities that the people in this have, and these people are fighting for their opportunities, right. And so it just made me think, like, I guess that goes along with this fight is not over as far as far from over, that there’s so many that that are not able to, to advocate for themselves. And then so many that are, are, are pushed aside, and it’s just an ongoing and big problem that that needs, attention and needs, needs change, for

Kerri Michael 40:58
sure, for sure been in you know, and if I can make one kind of, you know, to, to be back on to that, that. You know, we in a lot of cases, we have not given people with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully and that is a huge amount of human potential that we are entirely missing out on, you know, as a society. These You know, I think what made these you know, what was so great about the first third of the movie is because you got to see how I don’t mean this in the way that it sounds how unremarkable these kids are, in terms of not, you know, in terms of like, how the holy unimpressive ending because that’s not I mean, but what I mean is, how so typically adolescent these kids are, and how, you know, they got to experience summer camp, the way that I mean, I went to sleepaway camp, I don’t know if you did, and, you know, and I mean, I loved every second, and they got to have that whole experience of, you know, you go to camp, and it’s such an adventure, and there’s, you know, all this, like, you know, you get to play baseball, and you get to, you know, that there were kind of all that and they made, they spent some time on this kind of this whole, like, in adolescence, you’ve got this budding sexuality that is not not there for people with disabilities. And, you know, I mean, they, they went into all of that, but I say all that to say that it really makes me think as someone who works in, you know, in and around this movement, that you got to see a microcosm of full participation in society. And when people feel safe to do that, and you make it possible for them to do that. We all win.

Andrew Sweatman 43:00
Yeah, yeah. It really is that, that? Yeah, microcosm of of what it could be, you know, and, and I think the movie makes a good comparison to it was this kind of Woodstock hippie, like, carefree attitude was needed to get to that place? And I thought that was an interesting thing, too. But, but absolutely, I think you’re right, but it’s for the betterment of everyone. Once they’ve everyone,

Kerri Michael 43:25
they experienced that it kind of galvanized, you know, they knew what they had to do. And, and how lucky for all of us that they did.

Andrew Sweatman 43:35
Yeah, absolutely. Well, that is crip camp, disability revolution that is streaming on Netflix. Sounds like we both recommend it pretty highly. For sure. Yeah. We’ll check that out. And, and, and seriously, yes, share share with with everyone you know, to watch this as well. I think this might be a good opportunity to I have a handful of like, disabled advocates so that the whole point of, you know, listened not about the disabled, but listen to the disabled. Because they so many people advocate so well, people with disabilities, so I can share some Instagram people that are they’re doing a lot and speaking really powerfully and in this area, too. So check the show notes for that. Because we are far from the experts on this, but but listen to the people who who it affects directly. All right. Well, thank you so much for being here. This has been a great discussion. I really appreciate it.

Kerri Michael 44:30
Andrew, thank you. I always love talking to you. I really appreciate it. Well, thanks.

Andrew Sweatman 44:39
Big thanks again to Kerry Michael for being here for this episode. I think it turned out really great. She had so much great information to share. Stay tuned. Next time we’re going to talk about a film called backer Rao, which is streaming on criterion channel if you want to check that out. In the weeks to come. We’ve also got wolf Walker’s and documentary called boy Stage coming up. So you can tune into those when you have the chance and be ready for those podcast episodes to drop. Quick note. For this season I’ve been doing weekly, we are going to drop back to every two weeks, I just became a lot to handle. So we’re gonna do every two weeks and that way I can make sure each episode is up to the standard quality that that I want to make it so anyway, every two weeks, keep tuning in. And thank you so much for listening to art house garage. We’ve got a few years worth of episodes now and you can hear all of those in your podcast app of choice. Our theme music is by composer Paul unifo can learn more at appalling productions calm and that’s linked in the show notes. If you want to support art house garage, leave a rating or review in your podcast app or you can buy an art house garage t shirt at art house slash shop. stay in the loop about art house garage and the films we’re covering by subscribing to our email newsletter by going to art house garage comm slash subscribe or you can email me directly Andrew at our house garage COMM And of course follow on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and letterbox just search at art house garage and all those places. And that will do it for this episode. Thank you again so much for listening. And until next time, keep it snob free

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Andrew Sweatman

Andrew is a writer, podcaster, and film lover who wants to help people think critically about movies. He lives in central Arkansas with his wife Allison and two children, Rosie & Beau. Andrew is the Senior Editor at Arthouse Garage and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA). Find him at and on Twitter and Instagram: @ArthouseGarage.

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