NORTHAMPTON — Whole Children, a program of Pathlight, will partner with Five College Realtors to present the fifth annual Focus on Disability Film Festival on Sunday, April 5 at 4 p.m. at the Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley St., Northampton.
The festival will feature seven films, including six short films from SproutFlix, which exclusively distributes films featuring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and will conclude with the premiere of This Is Me, a Pathlight-made original documentary.
All the films highlight the importance of the performing and visual arts in the lives of people with disabilities. This Is Me is about Whole Children’s performing-arts program, now in its ninth year, and was filmed during the creation of last year’s original production. It discusses the history of the program and what is means to the actors, who are local children and adults with disabilities, and their families.
“The arts are an integral part of Whole Children and Milestones,” said Whole Children Director Maggie Rice, who is featured in the documentary. “Too many kids and adults with disabilities have been relegated to backstage — in the arts and in life. Through our programs, they will continue to step front and center — with the spotlight shining on their skills, talents, and many abilities.”
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Amherst author Cammie McGovern and featuring young adults with disabilities who express themselves through performing arts. A reception will follow the panel.
All proceeds from the film festival support Whole Children’s inclusive programming for children and teens. Whole Children, a program of Pathlight, offers a wide range of after-school, weekend, and vacation enrichment programs for children of all ages and abilities, particularly those with special needs. Classes include gymnastics, art, martial arts, dance, music, social skills, yoga, sports, and theater.