WHEEL LIFE -- In 2012, the Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University partnered with LightHouse for the Blind and took over Superfest, the longest-running disability film festival in the world. As the associate director at Longmore, Emily Smith Beitiks had the opportunity to take on the producer role for the 2013 festival and continues to head the project today. Next month, Superfest celebrates its 33rd festival providing a platform for the disability community to showcase their voices and diverse experiences through film. Beitiks talked to Wheel:Life about her experience with disability as a non-disabled person, this year’s wheelchair riders films, and how Superfest brings the community together.
“My mom has had multiple sclerosis since before I was born, so disability has always been part of my life. She’s a wheelchair rider. That’s what led me to want to do this work,” Smith Beitiks said. “As I was introduced to the activist community in the San Francisco Bay Area as an adult, I began to recognize that even with disability being so very close to my life, I still held a degree of ableism that I had internalized. I believe film is a powerful means of challenging that.”