‘Crip Camp: a Disability Revolution’

Looking into the politicisation of the disability movement in the US, the Oscar-nominated Crip Camp: a Disability Revolution is a striking and insightful documentary into a world that, until the 1970s, was preferably hidden.

Woodstock in the State of New York saw one counter-cultural revolution – and not so far away in the Catskills was Camp Jened, a shabby summer destination that offered disabled teens a sense of normalcy and support often not found at home. As the world of protest grew around them, regulars at Jened in the 70s became the founders for the disability rights movement. One, Judy Heumann, went on to be a lifelong civil rights advocate on the international stage: a second, James Lebrecht, a filmmaker.

Using archive footage, television broadcasts and interviews, directors James Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham explore the struggles and fight for civil rights in the US as successive governments reject legislation to provide equality for disabled people. Demonstrations, sit-ins, occupations, allegiance with the Black Panthers eventually see the Americans with Disabilities Act passed into law.

It’s a wholly engrossing documentary full of humour, determination, occasional anger – with Barack and Michelle Obama as executive producers.

Nominated for best documentary Oscar in 2021.

Rating: 68%

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