Grounded by Reality

Grounded by Reality

Jessica is a physically disabled artist who refuses to buy into societal stereotypes regarding her physical appearance. Her artwork documents her body's decline.

Although crippled by a degenerative muscular disease that will eventually take away her ability to move at all, artist Jessica continues to live life to the fullest. Her obese and uncooperative body is covered with tattoos that dare the viewer to look closer at her appearance instead of turning away. The camera, too, looks unflinchingly at Jessica as she is lifted, partially naked, from her bed with pulley contraption and dressed by her obviously adoring male friend.

Produced by Phoebe Brown and Elizabeth Strickler for the International Documentary Challenge, this video makes the point that even severely handicapped people make art, teach classes, have boyfriends, and, in Jessica’s case, can be very well adjusted to a world that is extremely difficult for them to navigate. Jessica clearly states that if other people don’t think she fits their idea of physical beauty, she could care less.

The video uses a variety of camera angles and cut-ins of Jessica’s art and tattoos to weave together a profile of a creative woman who has learned to love herself and, as long she is able, will “just keep drawing.”

It won the POV Award for Best Directing in the 2010 International Documentary Challenge.

Length: 7:38

Produced by Phoebe Brown and Elizabeth Strickler