An Interview with Dennis Borel: 10 Movies

Aug 29, 2020 by

Coalition of Texans with Disabilities

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) Dennis, what is your exact title and where do you work and what are you trying to accomplish?

Executive Director, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities

The 10 films are part of our annual Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival, now in its 17th year. ctdfilfest.org

Always a theater event, this year we planned to do an Online Film Festival. Our Short Film Competition received so many excellent films that we could not schedule in our theater event.  The Online Film Festival is a way to show these films and highlight the work of the filmmakers. We had planned to do this before the pandemic. Our overall Film Festival goal is to  use the medium of film to show positive representations of disability and to demonstrate the humanity of people with disabilities.

2) I have heard recently about 10 movies- what are you trying to accomplish with these movies?

To showcase more films! 

We will hold our theater version with a completely different run of show in October.

3) Where are they available? Online or C.D. or?

Online.  It’s free, but we require people to register to get the login.  Go to https://txdisabilities.org/ to register.  The Online Film Festival is available through September 15.  Watch anytime, though we will have an occasional live interview.

4) What seem to be the main issues behind this entire issue of ” disability” or “exceptionality”?

It goes to our mission as an organization: to ensure that people with disabilities may live, learn, work, play and participate fully in their community of choice.  We’re primarily an advocacy organization and recognize disability arts as a form of advocacy and awareness.

5) What questions do you get in terms of general interest? What does it seem people want to know more about?

Cinema Touching Disability is an internationally recognized event.  We receive entries from dozens of countries. Yet it’s rare for a film festival to be focused on disability.  A common response from the general public is that you don’t have to be a person with a disability or have a family member with a disability to enjoy the films.

6) Or is your goal more educational in nature?

Yes, we do want to change attitudes, create awareness and shatter stereotypes.  People with disabilities are the demographic with the lowest income, highest unemployment rate, are least likely to own a car or home and are more likely to die prematurely; not from their disability rather from substandard healthcare. Discrimination and lack of opportunity continue to plague our citizens with disabilities.

7) What have I neglected to ask?

Cinema Touching Disability is an annual event.  Our first Online version has gone well, and we will continue it as a way to offer excellent disability cinema beyond the Austin city limits. We are a non-profit and do accept tax deductible donations to support our work in arts, advocacy, community organizing, communications and consumer direction.

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