BWW Review: MY DAD MATTHEW ~ Looking Beyond Disability

BWW Review: MY DAD MATTHEW ~ Looking Beyond Disability

Matthew Wangeman is a jubilant man, a distinguished advocate of disability rights, a researcher and instructor, and, perhaps, most importantly, a proud father. Matthew also has cerebral palsy, but in the eyes of his teenage son Elijah, he is a "pretty normal dad." Among his friends and colleagues, he's an individual honored for his accomplishments.

In John Schaffer's revelatory and inspiring six-minute documentary, MY DAD MATTHEW, Elijah speaks with remarkable eloquence and insight to the measure of a man who is to be defined not by his physical condition but by his character and ability to make a difference. The son's pride and love of his father shines throughout this narrative as does the father's celebration of his full life.

This touching film, with a brevity that is rich in content and emotion, is a gentle reminder of the need to redefine "disability" and to look beyond one's wheelchair, pointer and letter board in order to know that person.

Schaffer, a disability studies professor at Northern Arizona University, uses the camera effectively to punctuate the message that a disability does not prevent an individual from living an independent life style within the community. With MY DAD MATTHEW, he does so with a cinematic elegance matched only by a son's filial eloquence.

MY DAD MATTHEW is one of the short films to be featured at this year's Sedona International Film Festival.

Photo credit to Wild Asperagus Productions

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