Upcoming Sprout Film Festival brings sensitive touch of Rain Man to DuluthDustin Hoffman’s portrayal of an autistic sidekick to Tom Cruise in the film “Rain Man” received critical acclaim in 1998. Next week, Arc Northland is sponsoring a series of short films that portray everyday people who, unlike Hoffman, must take their developmental disabilities home after the shoot.
By: Thomas Vaughn, Duluth Budgeteer News
Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of an autistic sidekick to Tom Cruise in the film “Rain Man” received critical acclaim in 1998. Next week, Arc Northland is sponsoring a series of short films that portray everyday people who, unlike Hoffman, must take their developmental disabilities home after the shoot.
Bridget Riversmith, co-founder and co-leader of Arrowhead Alliance of Artists with Disabilities, is one of those helping to coordinate the Saturday, Aug. 4 event.
“The films challenge the belief that being different means being less-than, not normal and excluded,” she said. “I feel that they affirm the belief that we’re all more alike than different and that what does make us unique is highly valuable and a source of joy, wisdom and beauty.”
ARC Northland selected the films through Sprout, a national organization located in New York City that provides programs for people with disabilities. Each year, Sprout sponsors a weekend film festival in New York that shows about 40 films selected from among more than 250 submissions. Those films then go into a library archive, from which local organizations, such as ARC Northland, may select films to screen on their own. In Duluth, the films will be shown in the Teatro Zuccone theatre at 222 E. Superior Street.
In Duluth, the selected films run from 2 to 27 minutes, with screenings beginning at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and lasting for 90 minutes. Each showing will offer a different set of films for viewing. Following each, Anthony Di Salvo, Sprout’s executive director, will lead a question and answer session.
“We’ve got some really amazing films that we’ve gathered over the past 11 years,” said Di Salvo. “If there’s any questions about the films, how they were made, what we’re trying to accomplish, what the person in the film is doing now, all those different things, we have a little discussion and a Q and A afterwards, which I think is always a lot of fun.”
Ten local area organizations collaborated with Arc Northland to make the festival happen. One of those is Goodwill Industries.
“We thought that the Sprout festival was a really good opportunity for us to … support the people with disabilities that are interested in not only attending the event, but learning how to do some of their own production and development of videos,” said Doug Carlson, assistant director at Goodwill.
Peggy Hanson is the director of the Minnesota Power Foundation, which is also a contributor.
“We believe it’s important to support these types of events which help raise awareness and inspire a dialogue on social issues,” she said. “This type of event brings together a diverse population of community members and provides opportunities to experience various forms
Di Salvo said the films are meant to be positive.
“Most people, when they think of film and relate it to disabilities, they think it’s going to be depressing and it’s going to be like, ‘Why would I want to see more problems? I have my own problems,’ but these films are very fun, up, enlightening, touching and in no way something that’s depressing and everybody’s going to be bummed out,” he said. “It’s the opposite. We hope that people will feel uplifted and entertained.”
For more information, visit the website www.sprouttouringfilmfestival.org or contact Laura Birnbaum-Singler at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (218) 726-4841. Tickets are $5 for a single viewing, or $8 for both viewings.