The Evolution of Disability in Film: After the Accolades, the Work Continues | written by DisArt Board Member, Lawrence Carter-Long
- “…to be disillusioned is a synonym for waking up to reality. Only then can we begin to make the necessary changes. To be disillusioned is a synonym for waking up to reality. It’s a necessary, albeit often painful first step on the road to change.” Lawrence Carter-Long
- “…the distance between the viewer and the subjects of films like Follies—however powerful—usually remain safely “over there” rather than here. Somewhere else. To be viewed at a safe, comfortable distance, subject to existing, dominant structures of paternalism and objectification. Beyond those safe zones lies greater authenticity. But how is authenticity defined? And how do we determine what and who is authentic?” Lawrence Carter-Long
- “A more inclusive media world will feature and employ more people with disabilities both in front of and behind the camera.” Nic Novicki, actor/activist, Twitter Instagram Facebook
- “In the end, imperfect beats absent. Even those unfortunate instances where a filmmaker gets important nuances wrong, the art and act of filmmaking, and the process of sharing one’s vision with the others, can spark necessary conversations. And those conversations, in turn, can lead to unimagined changes in both thinking and in society. Accomplish that and you’ve set the perfect stage to expand opportunity. Perhaps the next wave then will mark a transition from disability as subject or object into largely uncharted terrain – where disabled filmmakers are given increased access to turn the camera on themselves and on the world surrounding them. Ultimately, shining a light on fresh perspectives and untapped insights.” Lawrence Carter-Long
About the Author
Lawrence Carter-Long (Board Member since 2020) is a difficult man to peg or to pin down and that’s just the way he likes it. LCL–as friends call him–has been on the frontlines of popular culture and social change since the age of five when he was drafted to be a poster child for a disability-related charity campaign.
A lifelong activist, as an adult Lawrence has been a modern dancer, radio show host and producer, and was the curator/co-host of groundbreaking festival “THE PROJECTED IMAGE: A HISTORY OF DISABILIY ON FILM” on Turner Classic Movies reaching 87 million people. His advocacy has been awarded by the likes of former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the American Association of People with Disabilities. Formerly the Public Affairs Specialist for the National Council on Disability—the independent federal agency that brought us the Americans with Disabilities Act, he joined the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund in July 2017, as our first-ever Director of Communications and spearheads our revitalized Disability & Media Alliance Project. In his communications work, Lawrence has both set-up media coverage of numerous disability issues in, and been interviewed by, respected outlets like USA TODAY, ASSOCIATED PRESS, the NEW YORK TIMES, THE DAILY SHOW, the BBC and CNN among other notable news source. He’s even given DEAR ABBY advice about disability and dating. His interview with NPR about the evolution of disability as a concept, and in language, is available at: https://goo.gl/YLNuuW