A Higher Ground and Rusted Spoke Production in association with Little Punk / JustFilms / Ford Foundation for Netflix
Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht’s Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution features a group of summer campers who first met in upstate New York in the early 1970s and went on to become key players and activists in the Disability Rights Movement in the U.S. With an unapologetic spirit and a welcome cheekiness found in its archival footage, the documentary gives us an inspiring history of a space where people like Larry Allison, Judith Heumann, and LaBrecht himself found the strength and the sense of community to take on a fight to change the very world around us. Finding the sparks and embers to recreate a story of a transformative movement requires intensive research, and thanks to a rare trove of video shot by “The People’s Video Theater” at Camp Jened, the film powerfully recovers the warmth of the teenagers’ discovery of independence, romance, and themselves. The playful scenes juxtaposed with footage from the “504 sit-in”—a 26-day occupation of a San Francisco Federal Building by 150 people with disabilities that would go on to lay the groundwork for the Americans with Disabilities Act—remind us that activism begins with the personal. For the history it recovers, for the empathetic portrait it paints, and for the revolutionary anger and joy it conjures, Crip Camp wins a Peabody Award.