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The Ability Exchange (2016) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • "The Ability Exchange" is a documentary about an innovative Disability Studies class at NYU Tandon where engineering students and adults with cerebral palsy learn to communicate, connect, and cultivate their abilities by making movies.

  • An intimate documentary film that delves into an innovative Disability Studies course at NYU Tandon where engineering students and self-advocates with cerebral palsy team up to make movies. This observational "empathy engine" illustrates the trajectory of personal growth and bonding that these first time filmmakers experience in the classroom and beyond, during a journey of which the line between ability and disability gets blurred, traditionally assigned roles of "filmmakers" and "subjects" blend, and the definitions of "normalcy" and "inspiration" are challenged. "The Ability Exchange" invites the viewer to reflect on what it takes to understand and appreciate a person, a community, a culture, and how this exchange of abilities and perspectives empowers lives.


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Synopsis

  • The Ability Exchange is a documentary film about acclaimed professor Allan Goldsteins Disability Studies course at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering (which is taught in partnership with United Cerebral Palsy of NYC). In this class, engineering students and self-advocates with cerebral palsy team up to make movies and, in the process, are forced out of their comfort zones. Consequently, this observational film illustrates the trajectory of personal growth and bonding that these first time filmmakers experience, during a journey in which the line between ability and disability gets blurred, definitions of normalcy and inspiration challenged. Traditionally assigned roles blend and the supposed disabled subjects/consultants become learning partners, creative allies and friends of their young counterparts. The Ability Exchange invites the viewer to reflect on what it takes to understand and appreciate a person, a community, a culture, and how this exchange of abilities and perspectives empowers lives.

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