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Overcoming Mediocrity

Workshops by British and German directors, who decided to portray people with disabilities and their individualities in an unusual light – through unconventional communication and limitless creativity.

Преодолевая ординарность

British director Ray Jacobs presented his short feature “Bastion,” about which the participants of the workshop have already heard a lot. The reason for that was the unusual popularity of the protagonist—a young actor with special needs James Doolan. His visit to one of the usual English barbershops made it possible to make an outstanding movie about the limits of imagination and reality, a child’s play and deep life philosophy.

His colleague, director Kate Monaghan, presented a movie about children with Down’s syndrome—“Breaking Free.” It is a story of three teenagers, 12 to 14 years old, and their growing up. They make their first steps in the adult world, face challenges and overcome them on their way to their dream. Nicole is 13 years old and she has a boyfriend also with Down’s syndrome. This story is not only about Nicole, but also about her relationship with her mother, about earning trust and respect for her private life.

Ruben is a great swimmer who trains together with older children in British Sports School of Olympic Reserve for youth with special needs. He is very goal oriented and Kate’s team had to spend several weeks literally swimming together with him before the filming began, so that he would let them in his world, which was just as unusual and dynamic as the swimmer himself.

The team met Harley on a seashore, and he was so “cool and stylish” no one could think about his diagnosis. Kate and her team surfed in the cold English sea to become friends with him. The story of the footage is the story of earning the young actors’ trust and a story of a long-time friendship no one from the film crew would like to end.

German directors and authors Michael Bernstein and Marina Samokhina led a workshop about the film “Benedikt Lika—Roll and Walk to Rußland.” It is the story of a young musician who is the director of a small but very talented German orchestra. The meeting took place as a teleconference. The participants could directly ask the actor in Augsburg, who answered their questions via Skype. He, while using a wheelchair, gathers huge audiences for his musical performances. One day Russia became a topic of such a performance. Last May, Benedikt became a member of the City Council of his hometown. He believes that music affects souls and that he will be able to direct his hometown’s policy in the proper direction. 

By Vladislav Zemenkov

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