Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy

Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy

Wed, 01/20/2010 - 10:00pm

Pictured: Diana and Kathy

Credit: Alice Elliot

A rare look at a friendship between two people who have disabilities—and their tireless activism for the rights of all people who have disabilities.

Two of the country’s most remarkable advocates for people with disabilities model a grand experiment in living independently and making a difference. The award-winning film Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy unveils the extraordinary lives of Diana Braun and Kathy Conour as they slip out of “the system,” become advocates for all people with disabilities, and reveal a life of profound friendship, no matter what the odds. As part of its annual Dialogue on Disability: The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series, WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies are pleased to present Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy on Wednesday, January 20 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable1011/cable11).

Diana Braun, who has Down syndrome, and Kathy Conour, who has cerebral palsy, met at a sheltered workshop in Illinois three decades ago and vowed to live independent, noninstitutionalized lives. Fearful of being shut away in
a nursing home or forced into a state-run institution, Diana and Kathy broke the rules and survived to tell their story. Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy chronicles their ongoing fight to live independently and their joint decision to break the rules requiring them to be homebound. Diana and Kathy make the trek from Springfield, Ill., to Washington, D.C., to state their case before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. For Diana and Kathy this is a journey that is physically dangerous and technically illegal, so the stakes are uncommonly high.

Although they comprise the largest minority in the United States, people with disabilities are routinely denied equal access and rights. Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy exemplifies the abilities of people with disabilities
and helps us understand an important and complex social issue. Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy is a rare look at a friendship between two people who have disabilities—and their tireless activism for the rights of all people who have disabilities.

During the five years of filming, director Alice Elliott was allowedextraordinary access to Diana and Kathy’s lives. Told in an intimate, vérité style, Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy brings audiences into a private world and sweeps us into a way of life rarely seen on screen and seldom understood.

Body and Soul: Diana & Kathy has received a number of awards and recognitions, including a nomination for the International Documentary Association Distinguished Documentary Award and the TASH Positive
Images in Media Award (shared with Including Samuel). The film was produced, directed and filmed by Alice Elliott (The Collector of Bedford Street) and edited by Rose Rosenblatt (The Education of Shelby Knox, Live Free or Die).

Dialogue on Disability: The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series, a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies, is a week-long outreach initiative designed to stimulate community dialogue about the perspectives and abilities of people with disabilities. At the heart of this initiative is programming broadcast on WXXI-TV and AM 1370 that celebrates the amazing lives of people with disabilities. Dialogue on Disability runs January 18-24. Dialogue on Disability is made possible thanks to support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation.

 

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