Based on the true life story of Huang Yu-Siang, who stars as himself, a blind piano prodigy from rural Taiwan who moves to the big city to attend university. Once there he finds himself competing on the same playing field as sighted students and struggling to find his way. When Siang meets Jie, a beautiful beverage vendor who dreams of being a dancer, they form a fast friendship. Jie’s wretched home life stands in the way of her dreams but Siang’s determination becomes her own inspiration and drive.
Golden Horse Film Festival 2012 - FIPRESCI Prize, Best New Director, Best Actress
Busan International Film Festival 2012 - Audience Award
More than 1200 workers with developmental disabilities work at Lott Industries, a car manufacturing company in Toledo, Ohio. But, as the auto industry declines in neighboring Detroit, Lott has been threatened with closure – and has only twelve months to reinvent and, hopefully, save itself. A Whole Lott More tracks this critical year for Lott from the perspectives of three unique and unforgettable people - Wanda, TJ and Kevin. In its portrayal of Lott’s potential demise, the film explores the narrow range of employment available to people with developmental disabilities and details the incredible contribution they can make in the working world when provided with the right support.
Audience Award, HotDocs 2013
After being paralyzed by polio as a child, Jerome Felder renamed himself Doc Pomus, reinventing himself first as a blues singer and then as one of American popular music’s greatest songwriters, writing classics like, “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “A Teenager in Love,” and “Viva Las Vegas.” AKA DOC POMUS brings to life Doc’s joyous, romantic, heartbreaking, and extraordinarily eventful journey.
Festival Grand Prize, Stony Brook Film Festival 2012
From bionic limbs and neural implants to prenatal screenings researchers around the world are developing technologies to “fix” or enhance the human body. These developments not only challenge the concept of disability, but of what it means to be fundamentally be a human in the 21st century. Does a man with no legs truly have a “disability” when he can run faster than most people in the world? What does it mean to be “normal” in a world where increasing numbers of people turn to “smart drugs” to get ahead each day? Fixed looks at the drive to be “better than human” and the radical technological innovations that may make it possible. With interviews with world-renowned experts and scholars and cameo performances by some of the world’s leading integrated dance companies, Fixed is a comprehensive look at the fascinating science of human enhancement—and its practical and philosophical implications.
After Kathy Leichter moved back to the NYC apartment in which she was raised, and where her mother committed suicide, she discovered a hidden box of audiotapes. It took sixteen years for Kathy to muster courage listen to the tapes but when she did she was suddenly granted new insights into her mother’s life and suicide. Her mother had recorded audio diaries about every aspect of her life - from the challenges of her marriage to Kathy’s dad, a NY State Senator, to her son’s estrangement, to her struggles with bipolar disorder. A visually arresting, emotionally candid film about a woman coping with mental illness, her relationships with her family, and the ripple effects of her suicide on those she loved.
Official Selection, IDFA
Official Selection, Hot Docs
The beloved characters from The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes return! When the group, living together in a beautiful country home, decides to shoot a film about their lives, Peter calls on his old friend Max, a successful, yet lonely and depressed, NYC-based cinematographer to shoot it. But only when Max arrives does he realize that the documentary he has promised to shoot is about people with developmental disabilities. Suddenly stuck in small Swedish city, Max must confront his own prejudice and perception of people with disabilities, while the group of friends go all out to make Max begin to find pleasure in life. Reluctantly, Max begins to warm to the group – and to the woman Peter loves. The actors in the film are from the Glada Hudik Theatre, a successful Swedish theater group made up of actors with developmental disabilities.
World traveler Albert Casals doesn’t let his use of a wheelchair get in the way of his adventures. The 19-year-old sets out on a new journey to the farthest point from his home in Barcelona to a lighthouse in New Zealand… with his girlfriend Anna, his wit and charm, and just 20 euro in his pocket.
Doc U! Award, Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival 2012
BIFF Award for Best Feature Documentary, Boulder International Film Festival 2013