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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"...the authentic voices of disability leaders as they reframe the debate on the disability rights movement in America... LIVES WORTH LIVING Premieres on the PBS Thursday, October 27 at 10 PM

 For downloadable images, visit

       Premieres on the PBS Series INDEPENDENT LENS
       Thursday, October 27 at 10 PM During
       National Disability Employment Awareness Month

       Powerful Documentary Chronicles the History of America's
Disability Rights Movement

       While there are over 54 million Americans living with
disabilities, Lives Worth Living is the first television history of
their decades-long struggle for equal rights. Produced and directed by
Eric Neudel, Lives Worth Living is a window into a world inhabited by
people with an unwavering determination to live their lives like
everyone else, and a look back into a past when millions of Americans
lived without access to schools, employment, apartment buildings, and
public transportation - a way of life unimaginable today. Lives Worth
Living premieres on the Emmy(r) Award-winning PBS series Independent
Lens, on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 10 PM (check local listings) to
coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

       Lives Worth Living traces the development of the disability
rights movement from its beginning following World War II, when
thousands of disabled veterans returned home, through its burgeoning in
the 1960s and 1970s, when it began to adopt the tactics of other social
movements. Told through interviews with the movement's pioneers,
legislators, and others, Lives Worth Living explores how Americans with
a wide variety of disabilities - including blind, deaf, physical,
intellectual and psychiatric - banded together to change public
perception and policy. Through demonstrations and legislative battles,
the disability rights community finally secured equal civil rights with
the 1990 passage and signing into law of the Americans with Disabilities
Act, one of the most transformative pieces of civil rights legislation
in American history.

       To learn more about the film, and the issues involved, visit the
film's companion website at Get detailed
information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the
filmmaker, and explore the subject in depth with links and resources.
The site also features a Talkback section, where viewers can share their
ideas and opinions.

       About the Participants, in Order of Appearance
       Fred Fay, early leader in the disability rights movement
<>  (1944 - 2011)
       Ann Ford, director of the Illinois National Council on
Independent Living
       Judy Heumann, leading disability rights activist, Co-Founder of
World Institute on Disability
       Judi Chamberlin, Mental Patients Liberation Front, a movement
for the rights and dignity of people with mental illness (1944-2010)
       Dr. William Bronston, former staff physician at the notorious
Willowbrook State School who was dismissed after agitating for change
       Bob Kafka, established ADAPT of Texas, a disability rights
advocacy organization
       Zona Roberts, counselor, UC Berkeley's Physically Disabled
Students' Program and Center for Independent Living, Berkeley; mother of
disability rights pioneer Ed Roberts
       Pat Wright, Former Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
       John Wodatch, Former Chief, Disability Rights Section, Civil
Rights Division, U. S. Department of Justice
       Jack Duncan, Former Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives
       Mary Jane Owen, disability rights activist, philosopher, policy
expert, and writer
       Marca Bristo, CEO, Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, former
chair of the National Council on Disability, and leader in the
disability rights movement
       Michael Winter, Former director, Berkeley Center for Independent
       Lex Frieden, Former director, National Council on the
Handicapped (now National Council on Disability)
       Dr. I. King Jordan, President Emeritus, Gallaudet University
       Jeff Rosen, alumni leader, Gallaudet University
       Senator Tom Harkin, (D-Iowa), co-author of the ADA
       Bobby Silverstein, Former Chief Counsel, Senate Subcommittee on
Disability Policy
       Richard Thornburgh, U.S. Attorney General, 1988-1991
       Tony Coelho, Former Congressman (D-California), House Majority
Whip, 1986-1989, author of the ADA
       Justin Dart, leader in the disability rights movement (1930 -

       About the Filmmaker
       Eric Neudel (Producer/Director) has produced, directed, and
edited numerous award-winning films for public television. His many
credits include Eyes on the Prize, AIDS: Chapter One, LBJ Goes to War,
Tet 1968, Steps, After the Crash, The Philippines and The US: In Our
Image, Body and Soul, and more. He was a visiting senior critic and
lecturer in film at Yale University and served as producer, director,
and editor for Harvard University's Derek Bok Center for Teaching and
Learning, and Spectrum Media's program series on the art and craft of
teaching. Neudel was also a photographer and video production
consultant, teaching video production to a team working for the Compass
Project in Malawi. Photographs from his two years in Malawi were
exhibited in the Sandra and Phillip Gordon Gallery at The Boston Arts
Academy in October 2007.

       He also served as story consultant for Row Hard No Excuses, an
award-winning documentary about two middle aged American men who set out
to cross the Atlantic in a rowboat. Most recently he served as a
photographer in Rwanda for The Boston Globe, where he directed,
produced, and edited a companion documentary about the Maranyundo Middle
School, which was built on the site of one of the worst concentration
camps and killing fields in Rwanda.

       About Independent Lens
       Independent Lens is an Emmy(r) Award-winning weekly series
airing Thursday nights at 10 PM on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series
features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by
the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of
their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable
stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history.
Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is
supported by interactive companion websites and national publicity and
community engagement campaigns.  Further information about the series is
available at Independent Lens is jointly
curated by ITVS and PBS; it is funded by the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people,
with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for
the Arts.  The series producer is Lois Vossen.


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