Following the success of the Netflix Original documentary Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, former US President Barack Obama spoke to members of the cast and crew to find out how the film has changed perceptions of disability and inspired the next generation of disabled activists.
About Crip Camp
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution tells the story of everyday disabled teenagers in the 1970s who congregated at a summer camp and went on to make history by creating the disability rights movement – also known as the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
The film was co-directed by Nicole Newnham and by former camper Jim LeBrecht, who has Spinal Bifida and is also an award-winning sound designer for film and theatre.
Produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground, Crip Camp has been BAFTA longlisted and Oscar-shortlisted, and has won acclaim since its release in cinemas and on Netflix on the 25th March 2020.
A conversation on disability rights with Barack Obama
On 4th March 2021, Netflix released a video on YouTube, in which Barack Obama was virtually joined by cast and crew of Crip Camp to discuss disability rights and the impact the film Crip Camp has made to disabled lives and culture.
Joining the former president was the co-directors Nicole Newham and Jim LeBrecht, Judith Heumann, who started the civil rights campaign and other disabled activists Dennis Billups and Denise Sherer Jacobson.
The conversation covers topics including:
- Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht reflecting on their experiences and observations since the film debuted in early 2020
- The social impact of the film, including the virtual Crip Camp experience that brought together almost 10,000 members and allies of the disability community in 2020
- The role of women and people of color in the disability community and the civil rights movement
- Crip Camp as a historical piece that allows people to see and learn from the voices of disabled people
- Ongoing progress in disability accessibility
- The “hierarchy of disability” that has divided the disability community in the past, and how the experiences of campers at Camp Jened transcended those divisions
- How learning to value other people allows you to value and understand yourself
Barack Obama praised the achievements made by the film by saying: “I could not be prouder of everybody associated with Crip Camp”.
He added: “You never know how things are going to be received, so to see the wonderful interest and outpouring of support that the film has received, to see how it has been used within the disability community to reinforce the values that helped build that movement, and to provide encouragement and nurturing to young people.
To see how people not in the disability community were educated in a way that blew them away because they weren’t aware of this history. … All of that has just been so gratifying to us”
You can watch the full conversation with Barack Obama on Netflix’s YouTube Channel:
Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution is available to watch on Netflix.
By Emma Purcell
More on Disability Horizons…
- VIDEO: disability-rights activist Judith Heumann’s story on making change happen
- BBC marks 25 years of the Disability Discrimination Act
- Cerrie Burnell uncovers the hidden story of disabled Britain in new documentary
- The Healing Powers of Dude: a Netflix Original series with disability and mental health at its centre