The Center For Disability Rights Launches The Free Our People Film Contest

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The Center for Disability Rights (CDR) is launching its third annual ‘Free Our People’ Film Contest today, March 4, 2019.

This film contest is not your ordinary film contest in that it requires filmmakers to tell stories of the institutional bias. The institutional bias is often referred to when discussing the long-term care system in the United States. Currently and historically, long-term care services have prioritized nursing home care as a necessary entitlement, while making home and community based care an optional afterthought. This means that disabled people are often stuck in nursing homes because they cannot get the services they need in the community, such as help with activities of daily living like getting dressed, cooking, etc. This film contest is aimed at telling the stories of the humans that have been effected by such a system.

Thus, CDR is inviting any and all filmmaking enthusiasts to participate in its third-annual film contest in order to garner stories of how the institutional bias has impacted members of every community. The film contest begins March 4th and all submissions are due by 11:59pm on April 15th. This year’s panel of judges include: Mat Fraser, Claudia Gordon and Christine Bruno. This team of judges has a range of expertise in film, entertainment and disability advocacy. Each entry will be evaluated and prizes will be awarded for the top five winning submissions. Prizes include up to $1000 in cash, airfare and travel accommodations to CDR’s film festival, filmmaking and story-telling software and more.

“Winning first place in the Free Our People film contest is one of my proudest moments in life so far,” said Jensen Caraballo, last year’s first place winner in the contest. “Being able to creatively tell my story and connect it to an issue much bigger than me is an opportunity I am deeply grateful for. Spending the $1,000 and talking to Wendy Calhoun, the Hollywood television producer and writer of Empire was lots of fun too.”

For more information, please visit or contact Leah Smith at