Crip Camp: Cradle of the Disability Rights Movement

Crip Camp: Cradle for the Disability Rights Movement

In the 1970s Camp Jened was not just any old summer camp in the Catskills. Hippy values, the Grateful Dead and pot smoking shaped this utopia for teens with disabilities.  

Before long, a generation of summer campers with disabilities became a social movement that soon changed the world.

We welcome Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham, co-directors of the Netflix documentary Crip Camp, to the podcast. Jim and Nicole share their experiences making a documentary about one of the most compelling, previously untold stories of our time.

In the process, we find out what it is like to work with executive producers Barack and Michelle Obama. Jim and Nicole also discuss the next items on the agenda for disability rights.

“I had no mental model for imagining disability communities, and I didn’t have any mental model for thinking about wild, horny teenagers listening to Bob Dylan at a summer camp. It was just joyous.” – Nicole Newnham

Time Stamps:

03:26 – What Camp Jened was, and the impact it had on the world.  
06:25 – What the film Crip Camp is really about.
08:30 – Jim talks about what it is like seeing your life on screen.
11:15 – Jim relays his experiences as a disabled child and teen in the 1960s and 70s.
13:08 – Why a lot of people don’t know about the disability rights movement and Camp Jened.
17:05 – First clip: footage from Camp Jened.
19:42 – How Nicole managed to get the footage from the camp.
23:48 – Where the name ‘Crip Camp’ came from.
27:51 – Judy Heumann, the disability rights movement and why her story remained untold. 31:26 – Second clip: Judy shuts down Madison Avenue.
34:26 – How Nicole got involved with the making of the film.
37:53 – How Jim and Nicole shaped the story to focus on the disability rights movement.
38:28 – How Higher Ground got involved, and what it was like working with the Obamas.
41:57 – How COVID-19 has affected the release of the film.
43:45 – Current issues facing the disability community.
45:35 – The impact Nicole hopes the film will have.
46:55 – Advice to parents with children who have disabilities.
47:50 – Future projects Jim is working on.
48:24 – What Nicole’s future looks like. 


Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Higher Ground Productions
Alamo Pictures
This Is Distorted 

Connect with Jim LeBrecht:

Connect with Nicole Newnham:

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