This week is the annual Celebrate Ability Week on campus during which special events are planned celebrating disability awareness and culture at Mizzou. This is the fourth year the University Libraries have purchased a film and the public performance rights and partnered with the Disability Center to show a movie depicting a person with a disability.
The movie this year, Deej, is a Peabody award-winning documentary and listed on the American Library Association Film and Media Round Table 2019 list of Notable Videos for Adults. DJ (Deej) Savarese, is a non-speaking young man with autism. Abandoned by his birth parents and presumed incompetent, Deej found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and begins his journey at Oberlin College, he confronts the terrors of his past, society’s obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses.
In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.
Deej, (2017, dir. Robert Rooy) is 72 minutes and will be shown Wednesday, Oct 2nd, 8:00 pm in Memorial Union, Jesse Wrench Auditorium