We Are the Most Beautiful People: Documentary Spotlights Adults with Disabilities
Graduate School Art Therapy instructor and film director, BA Short, says the documentary challenges the notion of beauty and what it means to be beautiful, and centers on the lived experience of adults who live with disabilities.
Graduate School Art Therapy instructor and film director, BA Short, along with cinematographer Robert Lafady and producer Zian Chavez, are interviewing adults experiencing disability from around the world. Their documentary, We Are the Most Beautiful People, will contribute to the disability justice movement, raise awareness, and deconstruct norms embedded in cultures worldwide.
“Our film also explores the concept of what it means to be beautiful,” explains Short. “In a social media driven culture, humankind faces superficial concepts of beauty daily. Black and Brown persons with disabilities are the most marginalized. Our underlying theme dismantles the concept of beauty and highlights strengths and innate qualities that humans encompass raising awareness and deconstructing norms embedded in culture.”
Disability can happen to anyone at any time, it is part of being human. What we can do is embrace each of our unique lived experiences with respect, acceptance and compassion.
In a statement on the documentary’s website, wearethemostbeautifulpeople.com, the team says that we live in a world that for too long has centered on the rights and needs of non-disabled persons.
While understanding that ableism and inspiration porn are embedded in our culture, we want to share stories authentically and unapologetically. It is packed with stories and information to educate and shed light on the experience of individuals with disabilities. As the social model of disability illustrates, society places limits on people, not disabilities. This will be the first film to unite a minority group that spans the globe. Persons with disabilities are the world’s largest minority, yet still today, are not seen by many.
Dehumanizing persons with disabilities is still in the consciousness of today’s society. We’re hoping that this film will be a catalyst to change the paradigm of systemic ableism that continues all around the world. Disability can happen to anyone, it is part of being human. Humans and animals at any point can experience disability in their lives. What we can do, is embrace our different lived experiences with respect, acceptance and compassion.
Disability is not a bad word.
To date the team has interviewed more than 25 people and organizations from around the world and hope to share, through this series of intimate interviews and personal stories, that from physical to psychological and invisible, persons with disabilities are capable, smart, interesting, talented, funny, strong, beautiful, and so much more!
Recent interviewees include:
Café Arpan Yash Charitable Trust is in Mumbai, India. They provide persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities opportunities to learn the required life skills, earn a livelihood, develop social relationships, and meaningfully participate in the community.
#LizzieAcker rose to fame from her appearance on Season 12 of Channel 4 and #Netflix #GreatBritishBakeOff. On the show, Lizzie shared that she was dyslexic and also has ADHD, she showed her neurodiversity through some of her bakes too.
#MaríaSoledadCisternasReyes is a Chilean lawyer and disability rights activist. Cisternas, who became blind while she was in college has worked to increase access for people with disabilities in Chile and at the United Nations
Blind music producer and recording artist, , known as Mattmac is originally from the remote community of Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba, is the recipient of Canada’s Walk of Fame RBC Emerging Musician Program in 2022.
#TzuHanChou works as a cooperative art therapist in Art The Feeling and as a counseling psychologist at Chia Chen Long-term Care Institution. They were diagnosed with Marfan syndrome (MFS) when they were a child.
Funding and Support
Current supporters include UCP Oregon, Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), and Portland Creative Arts Therapies Association (CATA).