October is National Disability Awareness Month, a time to learn about issues facing people with disabilities and celebrate their contributions. Kū Kanaka/Stand Tall, by Marlene Booth, follows a young disabled Native Hawaiian man, whose traumatic accident leads him to find healing through his indigenous language and history, and fight for his people. Tocando la Luz (Touch the Light , by Jennifer Redfearn, tells the story of three blind women in Havana, Cuba, who pursue their dreams while illuminating Cuba’s current economic and social landscape. Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty documents a Bay Area performance project that highlights people of color and queer people with disabilities, creating work about disability, sexuality and social justice. See more films about disability here.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In hopes of helping victims through their pain and moving forward in the fight to eradicate domestic violence from our world, two New Day filmmakers are making their films available for free streaming the entire month. Kimberly Bautista‘s feature documentary Justice for My Sisteris a feature-length documentary that follows one Guatemalan woman as she pits herself against her country’s notoriously machista justice system in search of answers to her sister’s brutal murder.
Peter Cohn‘s Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America is a powerful and dramatic exploration of family violence in the US. The feature documentary is accompanied by two shorter, more specialized companion pieces: Domestic Violence in Law Enforcement and Domestic Violence and Health Care.
I had been involved in solidarity work since 2003 to raise awareness about the violent murders of women in Juarez, Mexico, and that work connected me to feminists working in Guatemala. I began production on a documentary film, Justice for My Sister, which follows a Guatemalan single mother of five on a heroic journey to hold her sister’s killer accountable. When I myself became a target of sexual assault, and experienced first-hand the corruption and complicity of the Guatemalan justice system, I decided my film needed to do more than raise awareness – it needed to be part of a bigger violence prevention campaign. I formed the Justice for My Sister Collectivewith advocates in Guatemala and Los Angeles, and we’ve published a trainer’s training guide, a text-message campaign toolkit, and an activity booklet. We’ve held workshops and screenings with indigenous communities, immigrants, survivors of violence, service providers and police in 20 countries and counting. The film has won Best Documentary in Holland, Los Angeles, Bolivia, and Central America. I have toured universities and embassies to promote healthy relationships, and have since established a non-profit organization in LA to continue the campaign’s work.