Film will premiere as the Opening Night selection of The ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York and will be shown virtually on March 31, 2020, followed by a Q&A with Salome Chasnoff, Lawrence Carter-Long and Mat Fraser.
New York City, March 31 – Have you ever been online, just aimlessly scrolling through the web and found an article that makes a point you’ve been trying to get across for years, but have never been able to express: one of the moments where you can’t help but to exclaim that “they put it into words”? When it comes to the topic of disability representation in mainstream cinema, Code of the Freaks, directed by Salome Chasnoff, does just that, except for instead of being an 800-word opinion piece, it’s a brilliant, clever and expertly-crafted, hour-ish long film.
Touting a comedic disclaimer that “no people with disabilities were harmed in the making of this film,” Code opens with clips from the 1392 movie Freaks – from which it draws its name – and uses these examples as a jumping-off point for the discussion to come on disability representation in mainstream cinema. It takes clips from movies that include characters with disabilities and picks apart the way those characters, their stories and the situations are portrayed – including what the directors and writers got right, if anything, and what they did terribly (in most instances) wrong. It brings with it an important message in the fact that film, in many ways, functions as an educational medium – insofar as introducing people to experiences they might be unfamiliar with – meaning that what they ‘teach’ goes a lot further and deeper than one might think.