Disability representation in the media is something I think about. A lot. I often find myself cringing, sighing and cursing at news articles that discuss disability and want to throw my remote at the TV on the rare occasions when I actually see disabled characters in films or TV shows. The reason for my frustration is simple, but comes with profound consequences. The media gets us wrong. Constantly. We’re tragic. We’re “suffering from” whatever impairment(s) we happen to have. We’re incompetent. But never forget, we’re always inspirational. These stereotypes are not only dangerous but very, very lazy. And they influence not only how nondisabled people perceive us, but how we as disabled people perceive ourselves.
I feel incredibly lucky to belong to such a diverse and brilliant disability community. I’m consistently blown away by what crip artists and activists are accomplishing and the immense creativity of my disabled brothers and sisters. It gives me a sense of pride and a feeling of belonging- something that I never experienced as a young, extremely isolated, disabled girl.
The combination of utter exasperation with crip representation and a love for the (disability) arts led to the latest expansion of Criptiques. Films! My dear friend and crip sister, Cheryl Green and I decided we should collaborate on a project together. Cheryl shares my allergy to bullshit and happens to be an amazing activist, writer, and filmmaker. We applied for a grant, got it, and proceeded to make some comedy films written by and starring two disabled women. We wanted to feature content that was related to disability, but also include content that made no mention of disability at all. Because despite living and breathing disability, we’re multidimensional people and like to talk about other things. We wanted to normalize the fact that there were two disabled women onscreen, who weren’t tragic, inspirational or even likable! I wanted to play a bitch. I think I succeeded. We named the project Criptiques On Film: Very Special Episodes. The title is a reference to schmaltzy afterschool specials where characters always learn a lesson in the end- something we definitely do not do in our films. More importantly it’s a tongue-in-cheek nod to disabled people being labeled “special,” a phrase Cheryl and I find detestable and ableist. We held a screening of our films, which received some excellent press! You can read an interview with me here, and check out a joint interview with the both of us here.
All films are captioned. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them. Please check out and share our films- more are on the way!