Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why this project?

As mentioned earlier, Las Vegas should, by all accounts, be mostly barrier-free for persons with mobility challenges. User Friendly Vegas will be a feature-length film that will explore why these barriers still exist some 22 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This question, this case study, if you will, is important not only for understanding how to improve life in Las Vegas, but also to understand the limits of legal remedies and the ways in which social, economic and cultural changes must happen in order to improve our lives and the lives of persons with disabilities.

According to the Social Security Administration, 3 in 10 workers will suffer at least a short-term disability in their lifetimes. In 2010, 5% of the adult population between 18-34 years old had ambulatory problems according to the US Census Bureau and those numbers rise sharply in seniors with 16% of ages 65-74 and 33% of ages 75+ having ambulatory problems. That was just over 19 million people who have trouble walking in 2010 alone.

When you factor in the effects this has on the people around them, this is an important issue that affects a great deal of people in the United States. And this is an even greater issue in the global perspective.

However, we believe that understanding how to address the needs of persons with mobility challenges can also stand as a case study for understanding how stigmatization works, and what social, cultural, economic, political and legal issues exist in successfully addressing stigma. So we hope that the film will stimulate larger conversations beyond mobility issues.

What ARE they DOING? from Pattie Thomas on Vimeo.

We have been learning the craft of video and film production for 10 years now ever since our days at Cinevic in Victoria, British Columbia where we first learned to edit video. While this is a big step forward for us, we have been preparing for this step for some time. We also believe we have the substantive background to address this as we have been studying stigma from a number of perspectives as well as dealing with the challenges of chronic illness and mobility in our personal lives both as sufferers and caregivers.

To put it bluntly, we believe we are the right persons, living in the right place at the right time with the right backgrounds to tackle this project and do it well.

We will be seeking assistance from a lot of people in order to make this vision become a reality. We believe in the project. We hope we will inspire others to believe in it and to believe in us. We are determined to make this a reality. We hope you will make the journey with us.