Shameless: The Art of Disability

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 – 7:30pm
Canada 2006. Director: Bonnie Sherr Klein
With: Persimmon Blackbridge, Catherine Frazee, Geoffrey McMurchy, David Roche
Colour, Beta SP video. 71 mins.

Art, activism, and disability are the starting points for what unfolds as a funny and intimate portrait of five surprising individuals. Shameless marks Not a Love Story director Bonnie Sherr Klein’s return to a career interrupted by a catastrophic stroke in 1987. Always the activist, she now turns her lens on the world of disability culture and, ultimately, the transformative power of art. Joining Klein are four other artists with diverse (dis)abilities. Humorist David Roche is taking his one-man show, The Church of 80% Sincerity, off-Broadway. Writer, scholar and activist Catherine Frazee is navigating a jam-packed schedule of teaching and speaking engagements. Dancer, choreographer and impresario Geoff McMurchy is organizing an international festival of disability art. Sculptor and writer Persimmon Blackbridge is creating mixed-media portraits from “meaningful junk.” The film tracks all five individuals while they create and then present their multi-faceted self-representations. “As we get to know each of these remarkable people driven by a passion for art and transformation, the everyday complexities and unexpected richness of life with a disability are exposed. Packed with humour and raw energy, Shameless is a revelation of a film: honest, vulnerable, and filled with unexpected beauty” (National Film Board of Canada).

Frames of Mind is a monthly film event utilizing film and video to promote professional and community education on issues pertaining to mental health and illness.

Post-screening discussion with Bonnie Sherr Klein, director of Shameless. As a member of Studio D, the National Film Board’s famed Women’s Unit, Klein directed the groundbreaking documentary Not a Love Story: A Film about Pornography (1981). The focus of her lens shifted after a brainstem stroke at the age of 46. Produced 18 years after that stroke, Shameless marks Klein’s return to documentary filmmaking.

Co-sponsored by National Film Board of Canada.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Director of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

For more information on the film, see the Jan — Feb Pacific Cinémathèque Program Guide, or visit