PressRoomVIP was recently invited to an intimate screening of A Whole Lott More, a compelling documentary that explores the challenges faced by people with disabilities in the job market and work place. The film follows three fascinating individuals with disabilities who struggle with job security and employment. These stories shed a light on the often ignored issue of employing those with disabilities in the working world.
Victor Buhler, Director of the documentary told PressRoomVIP, “I made A Whole Lott More after being in a car accident and I was on crutches for a couple years. I really got a temporary window, an insight, into how people with disabilities live. Specifically the more research I did I really found that people with disabilities are fairly isolated from the working world. It became my mission to do something about that and make a film that really highlights that issue.”
There are almost eight million Americans with developmental disabilities – which include Cerebral Palsy, Autism and Down’s syndrome. Many of these Americans live on the edges of society, separate from the non-disabled. In a competitive job market people with developmental disabilities struggle to earn a living – an estimated 80% of them are out of work in the US. Those who do work often find refuge in ‘disabled workplaces’ – coalitions of industry and social service that provide manufacturing jobs. Until recently these were called ‘sheltered workshops’. But few are like Lott Industries.
For decades, Lott Industries successfully competed with non-disabled factories for auto industry contracts. TJ Hawker, who has cerebral palsy and is deaf, cannot imagine working anywhere else – he suffered depression after he lost his previous job at a local hospital. Wanda Huber, who has Turner’s and Down’s Syndrome, is the fiery leader of the workers’ group at Lott. Kevin Tyree is a recent high school graduate who has autism. Is Lott the best option for him in a changing economy or should he look for a job in the wider community?
Ever since Ford pulled out of town the company has struggled. Lott has twelve months to find new contracts or they will close. For Joan Browne, Lott’s President, it is an unthinkable scenario. A Whole Lott More is a moving feature documentary that details the most crucial year in Lott Industries’ history and brings audiences closer to the working world for Americans with developmental disabilities.
Loreen Arbus, Executive Producer of the film and advocate for those with disabilities, explained to PressRoomVIP that, “People are afraid of differences, they’re afraid to be near people who they can’t relate to. And in the documentary you move past the tremendous struggle to speech and the contortion of the body, and the difficulty, as an example, one has due to cerebral palsy. He can only communicate through assistive technology…and you hear him say ‘I want to work.’ And you realize he can, he does, his aspirations are the same as ours and this is so important so that people will think about hiring people with disabilities.”
The film recently debuted at the HotDocs film festival in Toronto where it won the Audience Award.
Watch the trailer here
PressRoomVIP was recently invited to an intimate screening of A Whole Lott More, a compelling documentary that exposes people with disabilities in the workplace. The film follows three fascinating individuals with disabilities who struggle with job security and employment. These stories shed a light on the often ignored issue of employing those with disabilities in the working world.