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Jenny London reviews Defiant Lives Feature Documentary

Published: 13 Oct 2017


REDinc. and ASPECT sponsored a screening of Defiant Lives at the Lismore Cinema on 20th September. This was not a fundraiser but rather a community service; a documentary sharing a detailed account of the rise of the disability rights movement in Australia, United States and Great Britain.


This film looks at how activists around the world helped to free people from their incarceration in institutions and came to a new understanding of disability by reframing it as a problem of society rather than a problem existing within individuals.

The film is filled with rare archival imagery and teases out a nuanced little known story about how disabled people have literally changed the world we live in. The film features some of the most impressive activists you’ve never heard of.

Filmmaker Sarah Barton said “Australians aren’t really aware of our history – if you are interested in human rights, this is an important story that hasn’t been told before”.

If you weren’t one of the 90 people who attended the Lismore screening keep your eyes open for this film – it will reappear either at the movies or on your TV screen. It is confronting, moving, heartbreaking, funny and painful and a testament to the extraordinary activists who happened to have a disability and who have changed the world and our community for the better. It also reminds us there is still a lot to do in this fight for equal rights for people with a disability.

Jenny London