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Why the world needs more filmmakers with disabilities

June 9, 2017 at 6:20 PM EDT
Filmmaker Reid Davenport wants people to know that his biggest obstacle isn’t living with cerebral palsy, but how others perceive and respond to his diagnosis. Davenport, whose films focus on people living with disabilities, gives his Brief but Spectacular take on seeing the world through his lens.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to another in our Brief But Spectacular series, where we ask interesting people to describe their passions.

Tonight, we continue our week-long theme of hearing from people with disabilities and how they deal with the challenges of everyday life.

Reid Davenport is a documentarian whose films focus on people living with disabilities.

His latest project is called “Through My Lens.”

REID DAVENPORT, Documentarian: I have cerebral palsy.

I would like people to see that my diagnosis is not my biggest obstacle. My biggest obstacle is people’s responses to my diagnosis.

QUESTION: Do people, do you find, underestimate you?

REID DAVENPORT: I mean, I have been underestimated my whole life.

And when that happens, you instantly figure out who not to waste your time with. The people who gawk at me on the streets remind me of the profound ignorance in the world. And I don’t mean to sound preachy, but it really affects my life, and, in turn, I’m sure, affects many other people with disabilities.

I cannot underestimate how strong and how prevalent these stigmas surrounding disability in the media are. There needs to be more filmmakers with disabilities, so they can experience the catharsis that I have been able to experience.

There is still such exclusion in society, that, for me, if I am the first person to bring disability to your purview, then we have such a long way to go.

My name is Reid Davenport. And this is my Brief But Spectacular take on seeing the world through my lens.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Reid Davenport, we owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

And I hope everyone watching this segment will share it with you someone you know.

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