The Souls of our Feet is a full-length, student-made documentary that "aims to give an insider's perspective on living with disability in today's world".
Frustrated by the ableism she faced personally, in 2013 then High School Junior Sonya Rio-Glick needed a widespread way to combat disability prejudice in a positive way that was accessible, relatable, and fun. The idea of a documentary seemed perfect, but never having worked with film before, Sonya had a lot to learn before she could bring her idea to life.
With a lot of passion and little planning, she bought a small video camera that summer and started asking questions. Touched and surprised by what she got on camera, the importance of the project was soon obvious. Next year, in fall of 2014 Sonya was accepted into the Honors Project Program at her high school, a selective independent study program for graduating seniors that gives students the time and space to complete a large project they are passionate about.
Now with the time to really focus on the film, Sonya found an unlikely project advisor in physics teacher Walter Keeley, who would guide her in organizing and logistics. Working diligently, Sonya taught herself how to use the iMovie editing software, consulted teachers on film and interview techniques, and most importantly put together a diverse and vibrant group of individuals with disabilities who were willing to share their experiences. Slowly but surely, the film came together in a combination of voice-over's, animations, and interviews. The Souls of our Feet is truly a group effort, with NYU film student Alex Hass donating his skills as a score composer, and bright young artist Valerie Abbruzzese lending her skills as the promotional artist. To find out more about those who made TSOOF possible, click here to Meet the Team.
While making the film was one thing, there needed to be a way to get it into the world come time, and an audience to watch it. A Facebook page was created, garnering a following of over 200 people (and counting!), and showings were booked in New York and Boston. Additionally, a crowd funding campaign on GoFundMe brought in almost $2500 to extend the reach of the film through the production of DVD copies*, and make sure that the movie could have the largest possible impact.
The film is broken up into seven 10-15 minute sections, each on a different subject relating to disability. They are:
- Disability in Romantic Relationships
- Disability in fashion
- Disability in the media
- Disability in Education
- Disability in Sports & Fitness
- Disability in Gender and Sexuality
- An Able-bodied Perspective
Over the course of the year, the film went from a project plan on paper to a full length film, complete with an official trailer and blooper reel. The Souls of our Feet gives audiences both basic knowledge of disability etiquette, and a holistic view of what living with disability is like. While there are many resources on disability, the film offers honesty and humanity in a context where those two characteristics are often overlooked or forgotten.
While it is recommended for ages 12+ due to mature themes, the film is child friendly.
*DVD copies and cases were manufactured by Bison Disc