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Anthony Di Salvo
March 13, 2013 : Film Festival Featuring Those with Developmental Disabilities TODAY
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager

Lancaster – The Ohio University Lancaster Cultural Events Committee and Fairfield County Developmental Disabilities are proud to host the 2013 Sprout Touring Film Festival this evening. The festival features short films by and about people with developmental disabilities.  It begins at 7 p.m.


"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 and 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 ten 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," said Di Salvo. "So, if a character has a disability then the actor must have the disability."


Di Salvo is also conducting a workshop with students in Lancaster today. It is open to both college and high school students in the area. It will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Raymond S. Wilkes Gallery for the Visual Arts on the 5th floor of Brasee Hall.


"I plan to cover the basics of making a video featuring people with developmental disabilities, said Di Salvo. "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 run from 7 to 9 p.m. in the art gallery as well. There will be no charge.