U.S. Teenager Wins Award for Acerbic Disability Awareness Video
Benjamin Snow, 19, was one of more than 300 video producers who entered a contest to “Film Your Issue” in 30-60 seconds last May. The results were posted online where thousands of viewing voters selected Snow’s short video called “Thumbs Down to Pity” as one of the 35 best. A professional media jury then selected his creative entry as one of five winners. Snow and his parents joined the other winners at the United Nations on June 19 for an awards ceremony. Go here to watch “Thumbs Down to Pity,” an acerbic and humorous request to Hollywood media-makers to excise this emotion from their disability treatments.
You can watch the video, embedded below, and order a copy on DVD or VHS. Unfortunately, the video is not captioned, but DisabilityWorld has made an annotated transcript of the narration available below.
Note: the video is in WMV format and requires Windows Media Player be installed on your computer. The player (Windows or Mac OS X versions) can be downloaded from the Microsoft website.
Following is the transcript of Thumbs Down to Pity, as narrated by Benjamin Snow:
[video shows montage of characters with disabilities from various films]
"For many years, some of the biggest names in Hollywood have focused on pity to portray characters with disabilities: unproductive people with lousy lives.
The movies are make-believe, but when the movie's over, the audience still has pity for people with disabilities.
[transition, with the sound of paper ripping, to a close shot of Benjamin's hands cupped around his mouth, yells]
[Benjamin rolls into foreground]
I have a disability and my life is nothing like the Hollywood stereotype.
[Benjamin points to his shoes and following a transition with the sound of velcro ripping, speaks directly to the camera]
On my shoes, I use Velcro instead of shoelaces.
[Benjamin quickly wheels around in a circle and then demonstrates a karate move while zooming past camera]
I've earned two karate belts, and I know how to handle myself.
[the sound of Benjamin's signature stamp clicking; he speaks to camera, which then pans a newspaper]
I pay my own bills with my debit card, and I write for my college newspaper.
[Benjamin in front of movie theater, with marquee in background]
For the way most people with disabilities are played onscreen, rated on a scale of one to ten, Hollywood gets a zero!
[Benjamin rolls past movie posters outside theater]
So here's my advice to people who make the movies:
Enough with the stereotype: it's worn out!
[Benjamin outside movie theater, making the thumbs down gesture]
Come on, Hollywood: Thumbs Down to Pity!