Day 4~ Film 15 of My @HotDocs #FilmFeast (UK)
You can’t help but fall in love with the unique cast of characters that make up the inspired film, A Whole Lott More. Director Victor Buhler successfully gives voice to an intelligent and motivated part of our world’s community that is often misunderstood and overlooked.
In the words of a very bright and ambitious young man named TJ Hawker, a Paralympian who has cerebral palsy and is deaf, “People believe we’re deaf and dumb… We need to open up their minds, eyes and hearts.” He communicates through a typing pad, watching him struggle to communicate is both painful and inspiring. He could get by on disability payments and entertain his whole life away but instead he reveals a courage and ambition that is inspiring and convicting,” I want to earn my way in the world.” he types.
TJ is seen working in a computer wing of Lott Industries, thankfully his life is broader than his job and the film smartly follows his championship bocce competition carrying us through to The End; we want to know… will he win? We also want to know if a company started in 1954 by parents of a child with a disability, and that employs over 1200 people with varying degrees of developmental disabilities will win. Will they find a way to triumph over the economic and auto industry downturn and continuing to not only turn a “big enough” profit but also provide a livelihood and community for them and others?
In the words of the positive spirited and dedicated worker Wanda Huber, “We can sink or we can swim. I am going to swim.” And like most of us she wants to be in love. I loved seeing and hearing the intelligence and spark of a young gal with down syndrome who suggests starting a protest to gain support to help keep them all working together at Lott.
As part of a successful Kickstater campaign, Buhler wrote, “ A Whole Lott More offers insight into the evolving world of work for people with developmental disabilities and asks the question: how can more disabled workers be integrated into the wider community?”
This film happily shared the Audience Award cash prize with two other projects at Hot Docs. I knew it would be an important film and made it a priority to see the first screening. The final screening and Q&A especially was a big hit with the entire cast in attendance winning the audience over with their charm, wit and enthusiasm. In a day an age where many docs can be downers, if you’re looking for a realistic film with some depth, inspiration and hope in your fellow man, Victor Buhler and team offer you A Whole Lott More.