Archive for the news Category
We Can Shine–From Institutions to Independence will be the feature film for a major fundraiser in Buffalo NY on April 14, 2011. The event is part of the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival and is raising funds for production of “The Bad IQ”, a documentary whose mission is to take an in-depth look at Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome. The film is being produced by Bill Cowell, organizer of the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival.
Oct 18, 2010,filmmaker, Adrian Esposito won an award for his film” We Can Shine-From Institutions to Independence at the V International Disability film Festival “Breaking Down Barriers” in Sochi, Russia. He was chosen as “best young documentary filmmaker” for this film entry at the festival. The film will be shown in Moscow Nov 27th-29 2010.
Oct 19, 2010–Buffalo NY–1PM Buffalo Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo NY as part of “Disability History Week Celebration”
Oct 29, 2010–Albany NY–9:30 AM Marriott Hotel, Wolf Rd, Albany NY @ Self-Advocacy Association of New York State Annual Conference
Nov 15, 2010 7PM Brighton Memorial Library, Rochester NY
April 6, 2011 6 PM Center for Disability Rights, Rochester NY followed by panel discussion
April 9, 2011 Buffalo Niagara Film Festival 5:30 PM Market Arcade Theater Buffalo NY
April 14, 2011, Special Feature for “Social Spectrum ” fundraiser event for Autism followed by reception — 6 PM Market Arcade Theater Buffalo NY
April 17, 2011 , Rapids Theater, Niagara Falls, NY 3 PM as part of Buffalo Niagara Film Festival
We Can Shine – From Institutions to Independence has been selected for screening in the “Breaking Down Barriers Disability Film Festival” in Russia.
Filmmaker Adrian Esposito has won an award at the Breaking Down Barriers Disability Film Festival as “best young documentary filmmaker.”
The 2010 festival was launched in October in Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, as part of the Cultural Olympiad “Year of Film.” The Sochi festival will be followed by a Moscow festival to take place in November. During 2010 and 2011 festivals will be held in regions throughout Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union.
In past festivals, the Breaking Down Barriers Disability Film Festival has screened more than 400 films from 30 countries. More than 7,000 people have attended Moscow’s festival and more than 15,000 people in 25 regions of Russia attended regional festivals. Festivals also took place in Armenia, the Kirgiz Republic, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Finally, Perspektiva (a Russian Disability NGO) and its partners continue to use these films to educate people in their communities about a wide variety of disability issues.
For continuing updates go to: http://festival-eng.perspektiva-inva.ru/
360 | 365 film fest draws more than 12,000 viewers
By Stuart Low • May 17, 2010
From the Democrat and Chronicle
The 360 | 365 George Eastman House Film Festival broke attendance records for the 9-year-old event.
More than 12,000 people attended the festival, which featured 87 movies from May 5 to May 9. Ticket sales increased by more than 25 percent from last year, said executive director John Richardson.
“We are thrilled with the results,” he says. “This festival is truly a community effort.”
It was a year of change for the festival. First, the High Falls International Film Festival was renamed 360 | 365. Then it joined forces with the George Eastman House.
Locally produced films, classics and new movies from 20 countries were screened at George Eastman House’s Dryden Theatre and the Little Theatre.
Special awards went to James Ivory of Merchant Ivory Productions and to Thelma Schoonmaker, who edited all of Martin Scorsese’s films.
Ivory’s latest production, The City of Your Final Destination, was one of four movies to sell out at the festival. Another was Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for ‘Superman’, a documentary about today’s crises in American public education. These are both expected to be released in movie theaters.
The Red Shoes, a restored version of the 1948 ballet movie, and We Can Shine, a new documentary about obstacles and successes experienced by developmentally disabled students, also sold out.
We Can Shine was made by Adrian Esposito, a 21-year-old Brighton man with Asperger’s syndrome. George Eastman House gave it an unplanned second screening because of an overflow crowd.
Director with Asperger’s premieres film at eclectic 360|365 festival
By Stuart Low • May 2, 2010
From the Democrat and Chronicle
Adrian Esposito has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. Yet the Brighton resident, who is only 21 years old, has created a documentary poised to grab the spotlight at the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival.
We Can Shine explores the grim conditions faced by developmentally disabled students in the mid-20th century, but it also demonstrates the success some of them have achieved today.
“I show how some things have changed for the better,” Esposito says. “From making We Can Shine, I realize how much people like me used to be misunderstood.”
Asperger’s syndrome affects the ability to socialize with others, though people with Asperger’s can be gifted in areas like math and music. Common symptoms include misinterpreting social cues, using highly formal speech or gestures and holding one-sided conversations.
The cause is unknown.
“Sometimes it’s hard to do impulse control,” he says, vigorously rocking his upper body — a habit he attributes, too, to Asperger’s. “It’s hard to know when to get into a conversation with a group, or when to interrupt.”
But to the people he films, he can be a dominating presence. He has a tall, stocky build and sports a neatly trimmed mustache and mutton chops. Behind his movie camera, he gains a certain confidence and authority.
Esposito was diagnosed as autistic at age 5. Much of his education has been handled by BOCES, which will graduate him in June. But he also learned a great deal from movies and videos.
“At age 7, I started getting interested in Planet of the Apes and the Outer Limits series,” he recalls. “Movies seemed very real. I could go into a fantasy world, escape to Africa or try the Nutty Professor’s drink that turns you into a different person.”
One afternoon he invented a story about a tribe of lizard people, then dictated it to his mother, Kristina Nomeika. It was the first of many homegrown movie plots she would type into her home computer.
Esposito’s imagination was stoked by countless hours at Hyatt’s Classic Video in East Rochester, and later by BOCES classes in radio and television broadcasting.
But no one expected the rapid series of documentaries that he has created in the last three years.
His first, Aging Trees of Knowledge, featured interviews with Holocaust survivors from New York City, Chicago and Rochester. It will be screened at 6:30 p.m. May 17 at Brighton Memorial Library.
Then came Command of Sankofa, which explores local storyteller David Anderson’s views on the fabled history and lingering community problems of African-American Rochester.
But his latest documentary, We Can Shine, is by far his most ambitious. Esposito examines what his life would have been like if he’d been born in 1944, when certain schools neglected or abused students with developmental disabilities.
He focuses on Willowbrook State School, a notorious Staten Island institution housing up to 6,000 developmentally disabled children. Geraldo Rivera, then a rookie reporter, went undercover to expose its horrific living conditions in 1972.
Rivera was helped by teenage Willowbrook resident Bernard Carabello, who went on to found the New York State Self-Advocacy Association for developmentally disabled people. Esposito interviewed Carabello in Manhattan, obtained footage from Rivera’s documentary and tracked down many Rochester-area success stories.
Among them are a Victor couple, Eric Neatrour and Christine Kurvits, with Down syndrome and a Fairport woman, Sarah Nettleton, who can’t speak but writes poetry.
But Esposito particularly admires Mark Willis, a Bergen man with Asperger’s.
“He ran away from home as a teenager and lived on the streets,” says Esposito. “No one thought he’d have a very good life. But he got a job, a house and met someone he loved. Now he’s working as a truck driver.”
Esposito started shooting the documentary in July 2008 and finished editing in March. His mother wrote the script, and Animatus Studio of Rochester helped with several of the shoots.
It screens at 3 p.m. next Sunday in George Eastman House’s Curtis Theatre.
The project changed Esposito’s thinking about stereotypes surrounding the people he’d interviewed.
“When I was going through tough times in high school, I just wanted to be in programs with ‘normal’ people,” he says. “Now I think that people with development disabilities are just like anyone else. They have their own talents. They’re just in bodies that aren’t working with them.”