BEING SEEN, 15min, USA
Directed by Paul Zehrer
A combination of funny, acerbic, and heart-wrenching, these people’s candid and articulate self-awareness quickly shatter preconceptions of the disabled.
“Being Seen” explores the poorly understood subculture of people living with “developmental disabilities.” Bay Area filmmakers, Paul Zehrer and Chikara Motomura, spent over three years following individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the Bay Area, exploring how this population thinks about themselves and the world. Rather than being defined by others or their diagnosis, individuals (young and old) strive to create meaningful lives, meet adversity, and dream of their futures. Their candid and articulate self-awareness quickly shatter preconceptions and leave viewers with existential questions about continuum of cognitive functioning we accept as “neuro-typical” or “normal.”
As a filmmakers, we found ourselves asking, “Do we not all struggle with some degree of personal and psychological wholeness?” Perhaps in some small way, this film offers us an opportunity to get beyond the “otherness” that separates us and opens us to a more expansive view of people with developmental disabilities.
The film sought to include multiple voices, aiming to widen viewer’s impressions beyond the usual Hollywood portrayal of the singular, “exceptional” individual who, despite his/her disabilities, overcomes such incomprehensible odds. Rather than creating a polemic, we wanted to allow people with disabilities to simply reflect upon their own lives, desires and challenges.