WHY "DANI'S TWINS" DOC?
Dani’s Twins documentary, currently in production, will provide a rare, intimate look into the topics of disability, pregnancy and adaptive parenthood, viewed through the lens of one woman’s personal journey. Within the context of this high-risk but joyful pregnancy and new parenthood adventure, the film’s thematic focus is on normalizing disability.
Disability affects more than 1 billion people worldwide. Yet societal stigma and marginalization prevail. Propelled by ableism and fear, barriers to social acceptance result in ongoing discrimination, from the failure to facilitate physical access to societal projections of lesser value. People with disabilities are often treated like they’re invisible. Many don’t think they can have sex (or possibly enjoy it).
Disability narratives tend to focus on medical issues and on “fixing” people, contributing further to the marginalization of people with disabilities. These social barriers and attitudes often shape the identity and inhibit the ability of people with disabilities to live and interact in the same way as able-bodied people.
The Covid pandemic brings these issues further to light. Already more vulnerable to acquiring the virus with more severe consequences (particularly those with reduced lung function, like Dani), people with disabilities face potential denial of treatment stemming from healthcare discrimination. There’s the additional threat of being cut off from life-sustaining supplies and even essential in-home personal assistance. Dani is facing all these issues.
As one of only a handful of quadriplegics ever to give birth to twins, Dani’s story is timely. We are beginning to witness a shift in the way people with disabilities are being represented in the media, consumer markets and leadership roles. There are more disability activists, entertainers and creators and more receptivity to disability awareness than ever before, including in documentaries.
The Covid crisis itself is unexpectedly timely for the film’s theme of normalizing disability. The lack of access to public spaces is not new for those with disabilities, nor is the seclusion and need to connect with others primarily through online channels. But it’s a life-changing experience for the billions of people in forced quarantine around the world today, an experience that has the potential to provide perspective into the life of people with disabilities like never before. And familiarity is a critical step toward acceptance.
Dani’s story is universal, one that any woman, any person who has faced adversity can relate to. The documentary will ultimately challenge ingrained perceptions and compel audiences to rethink disability as Dani shows that pregnancy and parenthood as a quadriplegic is not only possible, it’s perfectly unremarkable.