Feb 21-24, 2021

Code of the Freaks

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Code of the Freaks presents a radical reframing of the use of disabled characters in film.

Using hundreds of clips spanning over 100 years of moviemaking, and a cast of disabled artists, scholars and activists, it’s a scorching critique of some of Hollywood’s most beloved characters. This revelatory documentary investigates the power of movie imagery to shape the beliefs and behaviors of the general public toward disabled people, and of disabled people toward themselves. Drawing its title from a line from Tod Browning’s notorious 1932 film, Freaks, Code of the Freaks debunks well-worn tropes – the miracle cure, the blind guy driving a car, the magical little people, the face-feelers, the sexless, the better off dead – and brings an entirely fresh perspective. It dares to imagine a cinematic landscape that centers the voices of disabled people.

Sensitive Content: This film contains images from more than a century’s worth of Hollywood cinema and therefore depicts some nudity, sexual content, and violence, particularly violence against people with disabilities.

Filmmaker Biography

Salome Chasnoff (Director, Producer) is a Chicago-based filmmaker and installation artist who maintains a collaborative social practice and exhibition career that centers the voices of under-recognized or misrepresented communities. Her work has shown across the US and internationally in film festivals, galleries, and museums including National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC; Theater Gates’ Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago; Frameline Film Festival, San Francisco; Creative Time’s Democracy in America; Chicago Humanities Festival; Superfest Best of the Fest, Berkeley CA; Black Harvest International Film and Video Festival; Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival; and the United Nations. Awards include Purpose Prize Fellow, Women’s eNews Ida B Wells Bravery in Journalism Award and 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award, and the Illinois Humanities Council Towner Award. She was the founder and director of the celebrated community media organization, Beyondmedia Education, and a founding member of the PO Box Collective, a multi-generational social practice center. Chasnoff teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she also directs the BFA in Art Education program.


Online Screenings

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February 21-24, 2021.