Sunday, March 7

“Sport is a great tool for the autonomy of people with disabilities”

Ten thousand steps and more. How sport has changed the condition of people with disabilities over the past 150 years. This is what the documentary promises to show From the shadow to the light, worn by director Philippe Fontana and wheelchair tennis champion Michaël Jérémiasz, who will embody and tell this story in the form of a road movie. The two friends, co-producers of the film, launched a crowdfunding campaign via the Ulule platform, open until March 19. Interview with Michaël Jérémiasz.

Why this documentary?

Philippe Fontana, who has worked a lot on issues of discrimination and disability, and I have common indignation and the same humanist convictions. We believe that to change society’s view of disability and contribute to a fairer place for people with disabilities in society, a film is an extremely powerful tool. We weren’t going to wait for producers and broadcasters to get interested in our project, so we decided to do so and co-created a production company, Les Gros Films.

This first feature film will tell how sport has transformed the condition of people with disabilities around the world. Not just high performance sport, but physical activity in all its forms. It won’t just be a historical, chronological documentary. He will be played by a 39-year-old man, who had a generally trivial skiing accident, became paraplegic and then champion – but that is anecdotal -, and who today evolves in a society unsuited to his condition. . This will be my perception of a person with a disability who may have been born at the right time. If I had had my accident seventy years ago, I would only have survived a few weeks.

Little is known about this story of the impact of sport on the lives of people with disabilities …

Yes, and not just from the general public. People with disabilities themselves do not know their history. I didn’t know that one hundred and fifty years ago, we were divine abominations and fairground monsters. I hardly knew that during World War II Jews and Gypsies weren’t the only ones exterminated, people with disabilities were also on the front lines. I didn’t know that in France, during this same period, 45,000 so-called crazy people were left to starve. Few people know that sport was a formidable tool after World War II for the reconstruction of spinal cord injuries and war wounded. It is still a great tool for building self-confidence, autonomy, and even life expectancy. There is a public health issue because disabled populations are mostly sedentary, therefore develop cardiovascular diseases and live shorter lives. Through the people I will meet, we will show how sport has helped us and what we aspire to: be full citizens.

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