OU-L Film Fest Focuses On Developmental Disabilities

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The Ohio University Lancaster Cultural Events Committee and Fairfield County Developmental Disabilities will host the 2013 Sprout Touring Film Festival on Wednesday, March 13. 

The festival features short films by and about people with developmental disabilities.

"The films are artistically made," said Festival Founder Anthony Di Salvo. "They are personal, touching and memorable. They are not the usual type of films people think of when they hear about films related to developmental disabilities."

The Sprout Film Festival is based in Manhattan and houses a library of approximately 200 films related to the field of developmental disabilities.

By presenting films of artistry, intellect, insight and humor, the festival hopes to offer accurate, nuanced portrayals of people with developmental disabilities.

"We are trying to break the stigma of people being uncomfortable seeing individuals with developmental disabilities," said Di Salvo. "For many people, the only representations of this population are Sean Penn, Cuba Gooding, Jr. or Juliette Lewis. Those actors played the role of someone with a developmental disability. By presenting entertaining and enlightening films, we’d like to change that."

Approximately eight to 10 short films will be shown in about 90 minutes. Di Salvo will talk to the audience about the films and answer questions.

"One of the criteria I gave to my selection committee is the film must have a realistic portrayal of people with disabilities. It doesn’t have to be a positive portrayal, but it must be realistic," he said. "So, if a character has a disability then the actor must have the disability."

Di Salvo also plans to conduct a workshop with students in Lancaster on the day of the festival. It is open to both college and high school students in the area.

"I plan to cover the basics of making a video featuring people with developmental disabilities," he explained. "We will also discuss how film is used in this field and how the general public reacts to seeing people with developmental disabilities on the screen. It is an exciting time for film in the field."

The film festival will be held March 13 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Wagner Theatre at Ohio University Lancaster. Admission is free. To learn more about the festival, visit