I’m thrilled to report that last night’s screening was a great, great success. Ever since I first watched it last year, I knew I had to have Crip Camp screened at the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival. It is the type of important film everyone should watch, as it traces the history of the Disability Rights Movement in America. While it is freely available to watch on Netflix though, I felt it important to get it screened properly in front of a live audience in a darkened room: political films like this should be social, communal events. Watching it with other people, discussing it both before and afterwards adds something to the event.
With that said, I’m happy to say that we got an audience of fifteen to twenty people last night, which was pretty sizeable given the venue and circumstances. I had prepared a short introduction to give before the screening started just to contextualise it and give a bit of background. It was in five paragraphs on my Ipad, which we plugged into the room’s speakers. I was quite nervous that I’d hit the wrong button at the wrong time and screw up the order of my speech, but thankfully it went well and seemed to be well received.
The screening itself went well too: at almost two hours long, Crip Camp isn’t a short film, but it’s the kind of film which draws you in. You become fascinated by the history and the people involved; by the fact that an entire civil rights movement could have started at a small summer camp for disabled people in upstate New York. You want to keep watching to see what will happen. This, after all, is the story of the largest, arguably most oppressed minority in America fighting for their rights. And, as I said in my introduction last night, there are lessons we can learn from this film, things we can take from it and apply them to our own time.