Film shows what life in a wheelchair is like

By Sue Misao
Northwest Asian Weekly is ranked number one among most livable U.S. cities for wheelchair users, according to a 2010 study by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Christopher Reeve, who died in 2004, was the actor best known for his lead roles in many of the “Superman” movies. In 1995, he became a quadriplegic after being thrown by a horse during an equestrian competition. He spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

The wheelchair livability study included things such as climate, number of physicians, rehabilitation centers, recreation facilities, public transportation, employment opportunities, age of buildings and infrastructure, and access to Medicaid.

Limited mobility and the need for wheelchair access is the focus of a new documentary that had its national debut in Seattle on June 23, when it aired on the PBS series “POV” on KCTS. Directed by filmmaker Jason DaSilva, the documentary follows DaSilva as he redefines his life after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 25, and struggles with the harsh realities of life in a wheelchair. The result is a “life-affirming documentary filled with unexpected moments of joy and humor.”

DaSilva co-founded AXS Lab, which designed AXS Map, a crowd-sourced mobile app to help people with physical disabilities find and share information about the wheelchair accessibility of buildings and places, and such as going to a local coffee shop, catching a cab, and finding a restroom.

DaSilva was born in Ohio. His parents came from East Africa, and his family is originally from Goa in India. He began his filmmaking career documenting the experiences of different generations of South Asian immigrants with the film “Olivia’s Puzzle.” (end)

“When I Walk” made its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The film was partly funded by the Center for Asian American Media.

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