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DEALING WITH DISABILITY

About

In March 2010, the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, announced that, with the support of all provinces and territories, the Government of Canada has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at United Nations headquarters in New York City.

About this Playlist

“Breakaway” tells the story of two Nova Scotia men, both brain injury survivors, who are in an unusual relationship. Doug hasn't walked or talked for fifteen years, but Robert has had a miraculous full recovery and is now Doug's full-time attendant, trainer and housemate. Robert is obsessively, even aggressively, optimistic about Doug's recovery, rigidly enforcing a no nonsense regime of tough love, even though Doug's condition fails to improve. A poignant film which considers the delicate balance between care and control, dreams and false hopes. Winner of 9 awards, including a Gemini Award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television: the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary.

“Little Jesus” is the story of the filmmaker’s handicapped brother. It is the story of a miracle that never happened. It is the story of a storm. When director André-Line Beauparlant was 11 years old, her mother gave birth to a severely disabled son. The arrival of Sébastien changed Beauparlant's childhood and her familys life drastically. Her mother stopped laughing, her father stopped speaking. Beauparlant, her older brother and her sister had to suddenly behave as good children and pray for a miracle. Through a series of eloquently simple and searingly honest interviews with her family, Beauparlant probes the conflicted place that the recently deceased Sébastien occupies in their memory. For some, Sébastien was the very incarnation of the innocence of Jesus, of God's light; for others, he was a resented and painful burden. Winner of the Hot Docs Best Director Award for her 2001.

The backdrop to “My Sister’s Keepers” is when Michael Connolly's parents asked if he was willing to be guardian for his sister Denise if they were to pass away. Denise was born with intellectual disabilities and since becoming an adult, has had an increasing number of problems. Michael agreed, realizing that he had lived away for so long that he knew very little about his sister's adult life and care. He resolved that if he was someday to take care of Denise's affairs, that he had better learn more about her. Asking too many questions about Denise's living conditions, her medical treatments and how her parents ran her affairs, often put Michael into difficult confrontations with his parents. Doing research into books and films on people with intellectual disabilities led Michael to conclude that much of it was taken from a rosy point of view. His own family's experience with intellectual disabilities had been rocky and sorrowful. He resolved, with his family's blessing, to make his own film about the realities of living with intellectual disabilities. What followed were in-depth interviews with siblings and parents on how each saw the family history, what had gone wrong and how things could be different. They discuss institutionalization, parental control, the intervention of professionals and the right to sex for people with intellectual disabilities.

Additional Online Resources

Canadian Disability Policy

Canadian Centre Of Disability Studies

Learning Disabilities Association Of Ontario

Selected Films (3)
  1. My Sister's Keepers Preview Thumbnail
    My Sister's Keepers
    • Country:Canada
    • Year:1996
    » View Documentary
  2. Little Jesus Preview Thumbnail
    Little Jesus
    • Country:Canada
    • Year:2004
    » View Documentary
  3. Breakaway- A Tale of Two Survivors Preview Thumbnail
    Breakaway- A Tale of Two Survivors
    • Country:Canada
    • Year:2001
    » View Documentary

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