With Learning Disability week coming up in June, now is the time to support learning disabled representation in the film industry as well as consider access to cinema for neurodivergent audiences.
In 2019, FAN New Releases supported Signature’s title The Peanut Butter Falcon, a modern Mark Twain-esque adventure starring Shia LaBeouf (American Honey, Fury) as a small-time outlaw turned unlikely coach who joins forces with Zack Gottsagen‘s Zak, a young man with Down Syndrome on the run from a nursing home with the dream of becoming a professional wrestler. Dakota Johnson (Suspiria, Fifty Shades of Grey) stars as Zak’s loving, but stubborn, carer.
This feel-good film features a Learning Disabled actor in a leading role, where his disability is not the main element of the story. It’s a tale of friendship and adventure, and will appeal to fans of wrestling, good storytelling, and/or road movies.
You can now watch The Peanut Butter Falcon on BFI Player.
Bookings for Community Cinema screenings can be made from Cinema For All.
You can also watch the film My Feral Heart on BFI Player. A drama in which Luke (Steven Brandon), a young man with Down’s syndrome who prizes his independence, is forced into a care home after the death of his mother. There he rails against the restrictions imposed on him, but his frustrations are allayed by his budding friendships with his care-worker Eve (Shana Swash) and a mysterious feral girl (Pixie Le Knot).
If you’re interested to run a relaxed screening, to help bring in Learning Disabled audiences to your cinema, find out more in our quick tips for running relaxed screenings. You may also find some transferable advice in our autism-friendly screenings guide, though bear in mind much of this advice is specific to people living with autism, not necessarily those who are Learning Disabled. Ideally, consult with Learning Disabled groups in your area for advice and expertise.