January 31, 2005: Headlines: COS - Sierra Leone: Awards: Hollywood: Documentaries: Movies: Autism: Daily Orange: Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen earns Oscar nomination for "Autism is a World" as best Documentary Short Subject

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Sierra Leone: Special Report: Documentary Film Producer and Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen: January 31, 2005: Headlines: COS - Sierra Leone: Awards: Hollywood: Documentaries: Movies: Autism: Daily Orange: Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen earns Oscar nomination for "Autism is a World" as best Documentary Short Subject
RPCVs contend for Academy Awards  Date: January 31 2005 No: 416 RPCVs contend for Academy Awards
Bolivia RPCV Taylor Hackford's film "Ray" is up for awards in six categories including best picture, best actor and best director. "Autism Is a World" co-produced by Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen and nominated for best Documentary Short Subject, seeks to increase awareness of developmental disabilities. Colombian film "El Rey," previously in the running for the foreign-language award, includes the urban legend that PCVs teamed up with El Rey to bring cocaine to U.S. soil.

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-48-182.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, January 31, 2005 - 7:18 pm: Edit Post

Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen earns Oscar nomination for "Autism is a World" as best Documentary Short Subject

Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen earns Oscar nomination for Autism is a World  as best Documentary Short Subject

Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen earns Oscar nomination for "Autism is a World" as best Documentary Short Subject

SU professor earns Oscar nomination
Biklen up for best Documentary Short Subject

By Marc Peters
Published: 1/31/2005

Most would consider an Oscar nomination the end goal of making a movie, but for activists like Syracuse University professor of education Douglas Biklen, the honor is secondary to furthering disability awareness.

"Autism is a World," produced and directed by Gerardine Wurzburg, and co-produced by Biklen has been nominated for the 2004 Academy Award for best Documentary Short Subject. The nomination is Wurzburg's second, her film "Educating Peter" won the award in the same category in 1992.

"Of course (the nomination) is exciting," Biklen said. "The main reaction I have is elation that the film will now get seen very broadly and for many years to come."

The film is a look at the life of an autistic woman, Sue Rubin, and a presentation of how the world is viewed through her eyes.

Biklen met Rubin 12 years ago at a conference he spoke at in California. Biklen often invites Rubin to give speeches in Syracuse, one of which is featured in the film.

The film is not the first venture between Wurzburg and Biklen, who have wanted to do a film together for many years, Wurzburg said.

"This was the right subject and he actually introduced me to Sue. That is how I got to know her. His work and his writings have been very influential in moving towards inclusion of peoples with disabilities in our society," Wurzburg said.

The best way for college students to get involved and make a difference is to join an organization that allows people with disabilities, parents, friends and professionals to work together, Bilken said.

"(Bilken is) a great professor," said Liz Cufari, a freshman education major. "He influenced me to go more towards inclusive education. I was not going to do that before I came to Syracuse. (After taking his class) and learning more about inclusive education, I want to get involved and help kids."

Biklen's work has taken him around the world. Starting the 1960s, Biklen spent two years in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

"(The Peace Corps) led me to want to work on issues of access to public schooling," Biklen said. "From there I became interested in the representation of disability in popular culture."

All of Biklen's work focuses on issues of access and inclusion, he said. Although this particular film was made in the last year and half, Biklen has spent the past 15 years focusing mainly on communication rights with people who have limited speech. A large area of his work has been with autistic people.

"One of the main difficulties that people with autism and other developmental disabilities face is the tendency in the rest of society to equate difficulties with speech with problems in thinking, i.e., intelligence," Biklen said.

Biklen also uses other media to work for disability rights. He is currently working on a collection of essays based on interviews and narratives, all by people classified as autistic. The book, due out in June, is entitled "Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone."

"This film will show the inherent ability of people with autism and that is Sue's story," Wurzburg said. "The single most important thing about being nominated is moving the discussion further and to a world wide level."

CNN will air the film in May.

When this story was posted in January 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Anthony Shriver considers race for Florida Governor 20 Jan
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Tom Petri proposes changes in student loan program 17 Jan
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Story Source: Daily Orange

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Sierra Leone; Awards; Hollywood; Documentaries; Movies; Autism



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