Monday, April 13, 2009

Ms. Wheelchair California 2009: The Price Is Right

Alyson Roth became the first person ever in a wheelchair to be called down on the Price Is Right in the 38 years the show has been aired. This show was aired on April 13, 2009.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

News: Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2009

Check out the new Ms. Wheelchair Virginia 2009 Joan Manley from Lexington, Virginia is this year's winner.

News: Ms. Wheelchair California 2009

CBS Channel 13 News in Sacramento wrote a great article and posted the video on their website of Alyson Roth's crowning. Click here to view it.

Director's Statement

Alexis Ostrander

The idea for this project was sparked at a Sundance panel discussion on documentaries in January 2008, where TROUBLE THE WATER director, Tia Lessin urged the audience to simply pick up a camera and make a film about their passion. During that inspirational moment, I knew I wanted to make a film about people who overcome adversity in light of some serious and often life-threatening obstacles. In 1998 I cheered on my sister-in-law, Leslie Ostrander, as she competed for the title of Ms.Wheelchair America in North Carolina. A C7 incomplete quadriplegic from the age of 4, Leslie has spent the majority of her life in a wheelchair and has always a source of inspiration for my work. It was through watching Leslie's experiences that I started to understand the limitless ways that one woman’s life can be forever changed by their participation in this unique pageant. I have always been an active advocate for people with disabilities and believe that documentary film has the potential to be monumental in strengthening the voice of people living with disabilities. Remembering that exciting night in 1998 I knew that MS.WHEELCHAIR AMERICA was the perfect story combination to illustrate the struggles of people living in wheelchairs with the obstacles of personal identity faced by every woman across the United States. Meeting with the MWA board of directors on numerous occasions, researching and learning the ins and outs of the organization I have been developing MS.WHEELCHAIR AMERICA since 2008.

Ms. Wheelchair America

MS.WHEELCHAIR AMERICA is a feature length documentary focusing on the extraordinary lives of the women and their journey toward the 2010 Ms. Wheelchair America pageant. It is the story of women who challenge themselves on a daily basis to live life beyond their limitations and by doing so, redefine the perception of beauty and what it means to be disabled.

Women from twenty-seven states, with different disabilities, compete in this national competition every year. Since 1972 the mission of Ms. Wheelchair America has been to “provide an opportunity for women of achievement, who happen to be wheelchair users, to successfully educate and advocate for the more than 52 million Americans living with disabilities.” Unlike traditional beauty pageants, this is not a contest to select the most attractive contestant, instead it’s a competition based on “advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation to select the most accomplished and articulate spokesperson for individuals with disabilities.”

Though the framework of MS.WHEELCHAIR AMERICA will follow these women toward the national competition in South Dakota, the real stories will follow the amazing lives they lead. They are mothers, students, peace corps-volunteers, social activists, teachers, political and community figures. As we travel with them and learn their obstacles in life, we will also look at societal views of people with disabilities. However, this film will transcend disabilities by exploring the universal and timeless issues of femininity, independence and identity.