[UPDATE March 30, 2019] – Hearts of Glass will be showing at the ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York on Wednesday, April 3, Saturday, April 6 and Monday, April 8, 2019. All of the screenings include open captioning and most include audio description. RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications, Lauren Appelbaum, will be moderating a panel discussion with the filmmaker and others following the April 6 showing in Manhattan.
Rockville, Maryland, Jan. 16 – In the United States, there are more than 20-million working-age people with disabilities. However, only a third of them have opportunities for employment. Around the country, there are state-wide employment programs for people with disabilities. But, it takes a special company to create its own employment program. Vertical Harvest, one of the world’s only multi-story hydroponic greenhouses, provides year-round produce in a rural mountain town and meaningful employment to community members with disabilities. The staff members and its inclusive atmosphere are highlighted in Hearts of Glass, a documentary that is premiering this month at the Wild & Scenic Festival.
Hearts of Glass documents the early beginnings of Vertical Harvest and its employees with disabilities. Some of the featured workers include Kyle Burson who loves to use his brain, Zac Knudsen who rides horses, Ty Warner who loves to go to the carnival, Johnny Fifles who is a self-made My Little Pony fanatic or “brony” and Mycah Miller, a hometown artist. The cameras roll at their first days of work, training, promotions and even during their daily lives.
Director Jennifer Tennican was looking forward to making stories about Jackson, Wyoming since moving there in 2002. She had one goal in mind for her stories: Community – and the story of Vertical Harvest captured her interest.
“I was drawn to documenting a once-in-a-lifetime story about innovation and possibility unfolding in my backyard,” said Tennican. “That story includes community members with disabilities.” [continue reading…]