CDR Announces Winners of the Free Our People Film Contest

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The Center for Disability Rights (CDR), a disability-led, not-for-profit corporation that provides services to people with disabilities to promote independence and self-determination, has convened its second annual ‘Free Our People’ Film Contest. CDR is excited to congratulate the winners that were chosen by its team of expert judges and announce its upcoming film festival, in which all of these films will debut.

Part of CDR’s core mission of promoting self-determination for disabled people includes advocating for the rights of disabled people to live in the community with their friends and family rather than an institutionalized setting, like a nursing home. Currently and historically, this goal of community integration is made more difficult by a long-term care system that prioritizes nursing home care as a necessary entitlement while making home and community-based care an afterthought. The “Free Our People Film Contest” is one way in which CDR is working to dismantle the systems that keep people locked away in nursing homes. The contest organizers would like to thank the following sponsors for providing prizes: Jungle Software, Scrivener, Mariner Software, Movie Magic, Power Production Software, Dramatica and The Center for Disability Rights.

Jensen Carabello’s film “LifeSavers” won first place and will receive a prize of $1000 cash, hotel and airline accommodations to Rochester for the screening of his film, and film and screenwriting software that will help him continue to make high-quality productions. One of the contest’s judges, Teal Sherer, describes the film as, “Social change storytelling at its best.” She continues by stating that this “film powerfully follows Caraballo, who was forced to live in a nursing home from fifteen to twenty-one years of age. With ADAPT, he fights against institutional bias, even if it means getting arrested. As he shares in the film, ‘I’d rather go to jail than die in a nursing home.’”

Second place was won by Julie Ross for her film “No Way to Live.” Julie will receive $500 cash, plus the same hotel and travel arrangements and a similar cluster of software.

Third place will be awarded to Cheryl Green for “After Fairview” and she will also be given a trip to Rochester and filmmaking software.

For more information, contact Leah Smith at 806-239-5582 or