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Mar 3

Becoming Bulletproof

Dir. Michael Barnett USA 80 min Not Rated


Following this special screening, presented with the Meyer Foundation for Disabilities, will be a discussion with the film’s director and one of its subjects.

The documentary follows a group of adults with disabilities from across America who take part in an ambitious indie film production. BULLETPROOF, the film within the film, is a Western, complete with authentic wardrobe, saloon brawls, showdowns at the poker table, and evil villains. It’s the fruit of ideals that two brothers and their wives put into action through an inclusive film project they run in Hollywood every year. For them BULLETPROOF isn’t about actors’ limitations, “It’s all about making an awesome movie, not a statement.”

A.J. Murray, 32, from Atlanta, has cerebral palsy and plays the town’s mayor. Jeremy Vest, 28, born with Williams Syndrome, plays the film’s hero, Bulletproof Jackson. Zach Gottsagen, 29, who has Down syndrome, plays the evil Grim. Judy Moscariello, 53, who also has cerebral palsy, plays a woman shattered by her lover’s murder. Weaving between 1890s period drama and present-day action, BULLETPROOF’s snaking plot requires mastering lines, pushing through take after take, and showing up on time in costume. As the actors grapple with these high expectations, we see the pay off: a can-do community spirit, the genesis of a riveting film, and a personally and socially transformative experience. We learn lessons about reaching our fullest potential through artistic endeavor and hear direct from actors about overcoming their exclusion and marginalization.

Following this one-time showing at the Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Mike Fahey St., will be a Q&A session with director Michael Barnett and Ila Halby, a co-founder of the program featured in the documentary.

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