Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Capital Times Newspaper Article by ~Doug Moe
Mary Jo oathout's reaction was succinct: "It Rocks", she was saying this week. Oathout was reacting to the news that she and the principals from her documentary film "What is Normal?" are flying to Washington, DC. today to speak with elected officials and participate in a national symposium on consumer-directed-care for elderly and disabled people. Oathout, who came to Madison four years ago, works for Creative Community Living Services. She'd done some volunteer work at WYOU but had no film experience when, two years ago, she decided to try to get stories of some Madison disabled residents on film. She found an editor- Gretta miller, and the two woman crew put together a film that against all odds became the hit of this year's Wisconsin Film Festival. "A miracle that was meant to be," Oathout said. The documentary played at the Orpheum and more than 1,000 people -including many disabled resident's and their friends-packed the theater. In the film, Oathout interview's five subjects-Mary Ann Shinstine, Darwin Ness, Dan Remick, P.C. Cunningham and Phil Porter. Their stories of institutionalization to productive lives in society brought spontaneous applause from the audience. "There is an undeserved audience," festival director Mary Carbine said at the time. People were craving to see themselves in a positive and realistic manner. It was emotional for the festival staff, the audience and filmmaker."