Netflix viewers might have similar emotions as that which filled the air at this years Sundance festival where Crip Camp film was first shown. The film, Executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama will hit Netflix on March 25.
Crip Camp film tells a twofold story. It began with a scene from the 1970s, at Camp Jened, “a summer camp by hippies for people with disabilities” in New York’s Catskills; the countercultural camp was made up of youths with disabilities. The Crip Camp film shows how camp life for people with disabilities evolved, it also shows how people with disabilities at Camp Jened fought for disability rights.
“I am one of the early campers at the Crip Camp, the camp was not fun at first. It was like segregation to many of us, so a group of us at the camp who were going to college, was discussing, 'What was our future gonna look like?' We began to think about not only what could be, but what we had a responsibility to help make happen, so we came together and began to fight for disability rights.” Judy Heumann, a disability rights activist and a former Camp Jened counselor said.
“As an early camper, I saw different liberation movements getting the government attention,” Crip Camp co-director Jim LeBrecht, Jened alumni said. “Many of us at the camp became dedicated activist. We would talk about the world around us, and conversations would start about our liberation, and what we can't do and why, and 'What can we do about it?'”
One of the interesting scene in the film was when Heumann led the 1977’s 504 Sit-in. This among many efforts by the early campers helped advance accessibility and anti-discrimination laws for Americans with disabilities.
Crip Camp film has a depth and intimacy rarely, if ever, devoted to the disability rights movement in a mainstream film. “During the first screening of Crip Camp at Sundance, the response from the disability community was very significant, many people confessed that they didn't know that Crip Camp was once a major civil rights movement, or anything about its evolution,” Heumann says. “I think the film is really important in relation to advancing the discussion about disability rights.”