By Ashley Hinkley, Staff Writer
The sixth annual Spurwink Sprout Film Festival was recently featured at UMF to help provide a new perspective on the abilities of individuals with intellectual disabilities through the use of videography. This is the second consecutive year the Sprout Film Festival has traveled to UMF to showcase their work, but this year, the Advocates for Disability Awareness Club (ADAC) had the privilege of hosting the event.
The highly anticipated film festival consisted of nine short films that were “made by, for, and about people with intellectual disabilities,” according to Spurwink’s publications. Within each of the films, stories, both comical and eye-opening, helped to give students a new perspective on different disabilities. Lindsay Cochran, sophomore at UMF and treasurer of ADAC, hoped the film festival would provide a new insight toward individuals with intellectual disabilities, along with their many capabilities.
“As a club, we aim to spread awareness about different disabilities,” Cochran said. “I just hope the audience got something out of attending this event.”
This year, ADAC had the opportunity of choosing which films would be presented to the audience in the two showings on April 6th. Amber Cognato, senior and President of ADAC, was pleased and honored that the club had been given the opportunity.
“I felt a positive vibe amongst the club because of this experience,” Cognato said. “We were also able to better connect with each of the films the club had chosen.” Along with this responsibility, the club and its members also ushered and advertised for the event, ultimately leading to its success.
Sitting amongst the crowd within Lincoln Auditorium that evening, complete silence had fallen as the employee began to play the series of films. As the hour went on, the once quiet auditorium filled with the sounds of clapping and laughter as the stories continued to unfold on the screen. Lance Neeper, special education professor and ADAC’s faculty advisor, was very pleased with the films and the overall outcome of the event.
“It’s a collage of tiny clips that separately tell a story but showcase inclusion,” Neeper said. “I hope the audience got a greater awareness of the variety of issues depicted in the films.”
Because of their relative youth on campus, ADAC was not only to excited to sponsor the film festival to raise awareness of disabilities, but to attract more members to their club. . According to Neeper, creating the the club aimed to get more people, regardless of their major, to become more aware of the disabilities that several individuals face. “There are some studying rehab, special education, early childhood education, and elementary education,” said Neeper. “But the club is growing and we have about 40 members.”
The club is open to everyone, including those with busy schedules. “Even if they can’t show up every time, they can still participate in other ways,” Cognato said. “Be there when you can, because it’s great!” The club meets every Thursday from 6-7 in room 113 in the Education Center.