Winner 2000

King Gimp

Home Box Office, Whiteford-Hadary, University of Maryland, Tapestry International

Affectionately known as King Gimp, Daniel Keplinger has cerebral palsy and his outward demeanor is characterized by the flailing limbs and sputtered dialogue symptomatic of this disease. But inside this young man roars an artist whose heart, spirit and resolve are awe-inspiring in their magnitude. In Mr. Keplinger’s case his vital need for expression is fulfilled through painting. Producer Susan Hannah Hadary and producer/director William A. Whiteford follow Dan Keplinger’s saga starting when he was twelve years old and attending a special school through his graduation from college thirteen years later. Powerfully written and narrated by Dan, the resulting documentary reveals the constraints but not the limitations of physical disability. Throughout the film he searches for answers to the same life questions regarding love, relationships and livelihood common to all. The exceptional team who brought this story to life included executive producers Sheila Nevins for HBO and Nancy Walzog for Tapestry International, HBO senior producer Carole Rosen and supervising producer Lisa Heller. In connection with the film’s broadcast, HBO launched an outreach program to the disability community, coordinated Mr. Keplinger’s first professional art show at a gallery in Soho and created a virtual gallery of his work online. Never exploitative in revealing Dan’s quest for greater understanding through self-expression, King Gimp allows viewers a touching glimpse into the true triumph of the human, fighting spirit and for doing so, is award a Peabody.