Notes On Blindness


“…this superb documentary dramatises the life-changing experiences of theology professor John Hull, whose audiotape diaries of his journey into blindness formed the basis of his 1990 book Touching the Rock. Building upon their 2014 Emmy award-winning short film, Middleton and Spinney have created an utterly immersive feature ” Mark Kermode, The Guardian

Life, Animated – A Heartwarming Film that is also totally fascinating

“Life, Animated” is screening this Friday, 10/21, through Monday, 10/24, 7:30 pm, at Spring St. Gallery, 110 Spring St. Saratoga Springs

From Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires.
Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him.

LIFE, ANIMATED evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks.

By the way, want to see the film trailer? Here it is…

Check out our next post for a fascinating read about the director, Roger Ross Williams! Coming Soon.

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Unlocking the Cage: It’s Time Has Come

This week’s film – “Unlocking The Cage” is a powerful, topical documentary about something most of us rarely or never think about: what rights do non-humans have in this world?

Unlocking the Cage debuted at Sundance 2016, receiving a standing ovation.

Filmmakers Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker are highly respected documentarians who have been making films since the 60’s. Their signature style is to tell a compelling story about people who are passionate about what they do. Penny, as he’s known, was the pioneer of “cinema verité” in the 1960s. His earliest masterpiece, Don’t Look Back, told the story of Bob Dylan’s 1965 concert tour in England. Following that came a movie about David Bowie, and then The War Room, a behind-the-scenes look at Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. In 2012, Pennebaker won a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, and Chris Hegedus has won multiple awards for her work.

Unlocking the Cage tells the story of attorney Steven M. Wise, Founder and President of the Nonhuman Rights Project, who has spent 25 years putting together a plan to “punch through the legal wall that separates all humans from all other animals.” If that sounds like it might be a recipe for a rather dry documentary, it’s the genius of Pennebaker and Hegedus that what emerges is a gripping, rollicking adventure tale about one man’s struggle for justice.

The movie opens in a New York State appellate courtroom, where, for the first time in history, an attorney goes before a group of high court judges to argue that the “Great Writ” of habeas corpus should be applied on behalf of a chimpanzee, Tommy, who’s living in a small cage in a dark shed at a rundown trailer park.

Tommy, Wise tells the court, is a cognitively complex, autonomous being who should be recognized as having the legal right to bodily liberty so that he can be freed from captivity and taken to a sanctuary where he can live with other chimpanzees in a setting that’s as close to the wild as possible.

The next screenings are Saturday, 10/15 – Monday, 10/17, at 7:30 pm. All screenings are at Spring St. Gallery, 110 Spring St. Saratoga Springs.

Unlocking the Cage

Unlocking the Cage

Unlocking the Cage follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise in his unprecedented challenge to break down the legal wall that separates animals from humans. After thirty years of struggling with ineffective animal welfare laws, Steve and his legal team, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), are making history by filing the first lawsuits that seek to transform an animal from a thing with no rights to a person with legal protections.

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A Man Called Ove – Coming In November

a-man-called-ove-poster-2Stepping from the pages of Fredrik Backman’s international best-selling novel, Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife’s grave, Ove has given up on life. Enter a boisterous young family next door who accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox while moving in and earning his special brand of ire. Yet from this inauspicious beginning an unlikely friendship forms and we come to understand Ove’s past happiness and heartbreaks. What emerges is a heartwarming tale of unreliable first impressions and the gentle reminder that life is sweeter when it’s shared.

One of Sweden’s biggest locally-produced box office hits ever, director Hannes Holm finds the beating heart of his source material and Swedish star Rolf Lassgård, whose performance won him the Best Actor award at the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival, affectingly embodies the lovable curmudgeon Ove.

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October Is Looking Like Documentary Month

If you’ve been coming to our screenings for a while, you know we love documentaries. (Our audiences love them too!). After a run of great indie features, it looks like we will be screening two wonderful documentaries in October. We’re not quite ready to release the titles, but stay tuned. We expect to announcing our October films by 10/3.

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