Who better to cover the Paralympics, the international sporting event for athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities, than Niko von Glasow, the world’s best-known disabled filmmaker? Unfortunately — or fortunately for anyone seeking an insightful and funny documentary — this filmmaker frankly hates sports and thinks the games are “a stupid idea.”
Born with severely shortened arms, von Glasow serves as an endearing guide to London’s Paralympics competition in My Way to Olympia. As he meets a one-handed Norwegian table tennis player, the Rwandan sitting volleyball team, an American archer without arms and a Greek paraplegic boccia player, his own stereotypes about disability and sports get delightfully punctured. Official Selection of the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival.
“So many people, myself included, live in denial of their weaknesses,” says filmmaker Niko von Glasow. “These athletes are confronting their disabilities head-on, striving to conquer them. A man with no arms doesn’t have to take up archery, and his life would be much easier if he hadn’t. But the more time I spent with these athletes, the more I understood that they aren’t just trying to be ‘as good as’ non-disabled athletes. Playing table tennis with one hand, and playing volleyball while sitting on the floor, are totally different, separate and more challenging disciplines than the ‘normal’ versions of these sports.”
After the broadcast, visit the My Way to Olympia companion site to watch the full film online for free before August 7, 2014, watch an extended interview with filmmaker Niko von Glasow, find out what’s happened since the cameras stopped rolling, download a discussion guide and other viewing resources, and ask the filmmaker about the film on POV’s Google+ page on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 (the day after broadcast) from 1 PM to 2 PM ET (10-11 AM PT). Share your thoughts and ask questions by using the hashtag #MyWayToOlympia.
“A fresh, funny, uplifting documentary about disabled athletes. By making himself part of the story, Niko von Glasow enriches the film with his own life experience, but also with deadpan charm and irreverent humor.” — Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
And watch My Way to Olympia on your TV or laptop and enter for a chance to win the DVD and film poster, plus popcorn, chocolate, coffee and more! Enter now at pov.org/premiereparty.
My Way to Olympia premieres Monday, July 7, 2014, at 10 PM on PBS stations. (Check local listings.)