When Emilio, a 3-year-old child, is about to start school, his family is faced with the barriers of the educational system that most discriminates in the United States: the public schools of New York City. In the struggle to guarantee Emílio's right to an inclusive education, she investigates personal and inspiring stories that expose many injustices.
A co-production between the American producer Route6 and the producer Maria Farinha Films, A Place for Everyone will be released on the week of the National Day of Struggle for Persons with Disabilities – September 20 at 11:59 pm – on GNT. Directed by Olivier Bernier, father of Emílio and director of the production company Rota6, the film will also be shown on TV Cultura and will be available on platforms Globoplay and videocamp.
“I believe that Somewhere for Everyone starts where Crip Camp left off. Crip Camp ends with the laws that were changed due to your incredible activism and A Place for Everyone starts with how these laws are being implemented today and how the disability movement needs to keep moving forward.” says the director Olivier Bernier.
The work counts on the support and expertise of the spin off Flow Impact in all the distribution processes for the film: “Recent productions by Maria Farinha Filmes have already reached more than 30MM people, and engaged more than 100 global organizations in an impact movement. With each project, we see more clearly how audiovisual can bring about important changes in society, and change the game in solving systemic and complex problems”, believe Marcos Nisti, founding partner of Maria Farinha Filmes.
Emílio's story represents a reality that affects millions of children around the world. UNICEF data reveals that there are more than 93 million children with disabilities worldwide – almost half of them are out of school. The other half is fighting for the right to attend an education that does not discriminate and separates them from other children. The film was selected for production in the 2018 edition of the Videocamp Film Fund – an initiative of Instituto Alana. The Public Notice was one of the largest initiatives in the world focused on films with social impact to finance a single production. This movement recognizes the power with which cinema inspires and encourages reflection around socially relevant themes.
'In several countries, there is still a deep segregation of students with disabilities in Education restricted to specialized institutions, although there are many studies that prove the benefits of Inclusive Education for the whole society - according to data from the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) 2020 , and the PEER website, from UNESCO , which assesses the scenario and performance of inclusive education around the world. In a quarter of the world's countries, local legislation requires children with disabilities to be educated in separate spaces. Also based on the report, most education systems do not take student differences into account. Brazil, unlike other countries, has a success story in the right to education for all children. In 2020, out of a total of 1,308,900 students with disabilities enrolled in basic education, 88% are in ordinary schools.
“Analysing the international scenario, Brazil emerges as a success story in terms of legislation that confirms equal rights for people with disabilities. Unlike the United States and other countries considered developed, Brazil, in just over a decade, doubled the enrollment of students with disabilities, especially in Elementary School, and better, all in regular schools. Now that most students are in the place where they always had the right to be, the only way out is not to return to an educational model of separating people by their characteristics or differences, even though we have a lot to qualify in the implementation of policies and on the ground of communities and schools. Great international cooperation is also needed so that goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda reaches every country that has not yet ensured inclusive, equitable and quality education for all children, and Brazil has a lot to teach about this”, Raquel Franzim, Director of Education and Culture for Children at the Alana Institute.
In the United States, policies have already been enacted that supported a more promising scenario, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Acts of 1975 and 1997, and a 2004 amendment, which requires public schools to include students with disabilities in General and Integrated Education classes. But, in general, the system still makes it difficult to access a plural and comprehensive school for these children from General Education to High School.
The film brings together experts such as Thomas Hehir, Director of Special Education in the United States; Sara Jo Soldovieri, Advocate for the National Down Syndrome Society; Lori Podvesker, Director of Disability & Educational Policy; David H. Rose, co-creator of Universal Design of Learning; Sue Swenson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Ed-Services and Richard A. Carranza, Chancellor of NY Public Schools.
A Place for Everyone proposes that society understand the value of guaranteeing the right to an Inclusive and Quality Education for all children, and join the journey towards a reality where no child is left out of school.
Premiering at the Human Rights Film Festival in May, the feature – which was awarded the 'Hernandez/Bayliss Prize for Triumph of the Human Spirit' at the Middlebury Film Festival and selected by the New Orleans Film Festival and the ACT Human Rights Festival in Colorado State University – has global institutional support from Human Rights Watch:
“As the United States continues its painful quest for diversity and inclusion, we must value every member of our community. Our dream is that Emílio's story is no longer common here or anywhere else in the world. Our dream is to bring our young people together, in schools, in the community and in our workplaces, not keeping them segregated”. Carlos Ríos-Espinosa is a senior researcher and advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities at Human Rights Watch.
The documentary's support network includes important organizations such as Fundação Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal, Public Ministry of SP, FBASD (Brazilian Federation of Down Syndrome Associations), Fundação Itaú Social, Instituto Unibanco, Escola de Gente, Instituto Rodrigo Mendes, ANEC (Association of Catholic Schools), LEPED Unicamp, Talento Include, Instituto de Pesquisa Amankay, Instituto Avisa Lá Continuing Education of Educators, Comunidade Educativa CEDAC and Mais Diferenças.