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Three men, one in a wheelchair, on deck of a sailing vessel with movie camera in foreground.

Welcome to my office

Here we are on the foredeck of the Tenacious. The year is 2005, the 200th anniversery of Admiral Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. It is also the 15th year anniverary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We are just off the coast of Antigua, where Nelson was stationed more than 200 years ago. After leaving Antigua, Nelson lost an arm and eye in battle. He was also prone to sea sickness. With multiple disabilities he would never be allowed to serve today, yet he would have been quite at home on the Tenacious, a tall-ship designed to be sailed by people with disabilities.

We are aboard the Tenacious to make a documentary about accessibility. Clive, standing, and Paul are being interviewed to discuss life in Nelson's time. Our cameraman, Brian Miller, is just off camera. We'll use nautical objects and terms to segue to modern day access issues. For example, we'll talk about navigation at sea to segue into navigating on the internet by people who are blind. Next, we will start interviewing key people who shaped the ADA, including law makers and disability rights leaders from ADAPT who brought the issue of accessibility to the forefront. For my pictures from around Antigua, go to Tenacious 2

Our Story, the working title of our documentary, is about this country’s struggle to manage an increasing number of people with disabilities in our evolving society. We’ll learn what access means to the 40 million Americans with disabilities. But who will pay to make our environment accessible? How much will it cost to achieve accessibility? What will it cost if we don’t? We’ll talk with lawmakers, people with disabilities, and the business owners who bear the burden of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as the general public who are effected by policies to accommodate people with disabilities. We’ll learn why some states have fought hard to be immune to the ADA. We’ll learn about assistive devices and how they have opened up our world to those less physically able. We’ll see how a blind person uses a screen reader to read his computer and navigate the internet, how a deaf person communicates with people all over the world using video, and how a person who can’t speak can still be heard. We’ll see how our culture has changed as a result of inclusion. We’ll witness some folks as they continue to struggle without access.

Our Story will now be told by Jeff Moyer- a blind man, Bob Kafka– a wheelchair user, and Frank Bowe– a deaf man. All are over fifty and have participated in civil disobedience since the seventies in an effort to bring their plight public. Each will relate his struggle to, fit in to a society designed for able bodied, and his attempt to change society. Bob will tell us about the countless ADAPT protests he has organized, involving thousands of people with disabilities, to cause the ADA to be heard in Washington. He’ll describe the privations many people with disabilities endure as a result of poor access. We’ll hear from other people with disabilities who now have “a life” as a result of the ADA. We’ll hear from business owners who say unfunded mandates such as the ADA hurt their business. We’ll interview government leaders, including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (a paraplegic), who say the State should be immune to the ADA. We’ll talk to Senator Tom Harkin, one of the sponsors of the ADA, and learn about the opposition with which he was confronted.

Personnel

Vapor Productions is proud to announce that we will be working with Jeff Moyer to obtain some, if not all, of our music for our film. Jeff Moyer is a National Public Radio "Morning Edition" commentator, has been featured on the CBS Evening News and 20/20, in National Geographic, and in a BBC documentary on the U.S. disability rights movement. Moyer is a true renaissance man - songwriter, producer, author, historian, passionate public speaker, publisher, and champion of the dignity of all people. Moyer’s products span a broad array of theme styles and genres and are at work in settings from nursery school through graduate school and in homes and communities worldwide. As songwriter and musician, Jeff has developed numerous CDs and supporting materials that entertain, educate, and inspire. Jeff recently won an award for his work on Assistive Technology Boogie (a fully accessible musical animation). Moyer’s talents as historian and producer are showcased in Lest We Forget, his moving oral history documentary on state institutions for people with cognitive disabilities.

Andy Cockrum joins us as an Associate Editor. Andy has worked in the film/television industry since 1993 on a variety of projects including features, documentaries, TV Advertising, Music Videos etc. He has work in a editorial/visual fx capacity on feature films including, "Spy Kids 2, Spy Kids 3D, Once Upon a Time in Mexico", "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl" and "Sin City". His production company, Firelight Pictures, provides a variety of services and equipment to independent filmmakers including working as an Editor/Associate Editor on High Definition features such as "Master of the Game" and "Screen Door Jesus". He recently Produced and directed the documentary film "The Big Push: Journey to Everest" which follows a group of people with varying disabilities on a 22 day trek to Everest Base camp. Currently he is in Pre-production on his documentary film, "American Chimp: An Illustrated History of Chimpanzees in America".

Film Making

Anyone with a camera can make a film. The true art of film making is being able to capture the essence of the human spirit, to show that everyday people who are supporting their families are just as heroic as those on the front lines of exploration. The explorers, rebels, and innovators gave this country a voice while the everyday working men and women gave this country its heart. My goal is to show how both parties, as well as many others, shaped the concept and current condition of accessibility in this country today.

If you would like to sponsor this project, please send an email to me. Current sponsors include the Jubilee Sailing Trust, Pro-Tape, Precision Camera and Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.

VAPOR Productions is a division of GENO'S PLACE which all began here.

Stay tuned to this page for more developments by VAPOR Productions