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Human Rights
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Defiant Lives
A film by Sarah Barton
Australia, 2017, 85 minutes, Color, DVD, English
Order No. W171217

DEFIANT LIVES traces the origins of the world-wide disability rights movement featuring the most committed activists you’ve never heard of who literally changed the world. Until the 1980s, disabled people were routinely locked away in institutions. Disabled children were trotted out by large charities touting for money with little thought given to their dignity or rights. Featuring rarely seen archival footage and interviews with key movement leaders, this meticulously researched documentary tells the inspiring stories of the disabled activists who fought to live outside of institutions and in the community. They took on the big charities for their use of celebrities to beg on their behalf, chained themselves to public transport to demand access, and pushed anti-discrimination laws. They battled to reframe disability as a problem of society rather than a problem existing within individuals. DEFIANT LIVES is a triumphant film full of extraordinary characters who bravely put their lives on the line to create a better and very different world where everyone, regardless of impairment, is valued and can participate.

For pre-orders, please contact orders@wmm.com.


  • Sydney Film Festival

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    "A documentary on a civil movement that everyone needs to know about."
    Film Ink

    "Defiant Lives tells the powerful story of disability activists fighting against entrenched attitudes towards disability and highlights the ongoing struggle for recognition of rights that able-bodied people often take for granted."
    Right Now Film Festival

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us