Friday, April 02, 2010

First Review - Disaboom

Here is the first review of "Continue", written by Kerry Laird for Disaboom:

Though it may not be common knowledge among the masses, most of us who have been there know that a spinal cord injury does not mean “end of life.” Stan Clawson, the director of the adaptive sports film Continue, offers a window into the world of possibilities open to people with spinal cord injury, possibilities that include bone-crushing martial arts, head-bobbing river tours and enough self-fulfillment to last a lifetime.

Continue features nearly 30 team and individual adaptive sports and indoor and outdoor activities for wheelchair and non-wheelchair users. Not since Mark Wellman’s No Barriers has a post-spinal cord injury film promised to “rehabilitate” the mind like Continue. While its main audience will be those with spinal cord injuries and their supporters, Clawson’s Continue has the potential to alter nondisabled people’s preconceived notions of wheelchair users and their quality of life.

“This is the film I wish I’d seen during my post-injury rehabilitation,” says Clawson, who sustained his paralyzing spinal cord injury during a rock-climbing accident. “We are making this film available to everyone free of charge,” continues Clawson. “Anyone will be able to watch [Continue] and download this film from the internet… to show them that life can continue following a severe injury and that paralysis is not a life sentence.”

Sans dialogue, Continue allows viewers to focus on the experiences on the screen. Produced by Jeffrey Rosenbluth, the film showcases the latest equipment for the slopes, the seas and the mountains, just to name a few. While the equipment may be high-priced, the freedom of mobility and exhilaration experienced by the film’s athletes remain irresistibly free.

With locations in Belize, California, Utah and Idaho, superb shots and seamless editing make Continue a joy to experience. Its cinematic-quality production will conjure wafts of buttered popcorn and the fizz of overpriced sodas to the comforts of your own couch. However, sitting though Continue encourages even the most fervent of couch potatoes to explore the available opportunities presented in Clawson and Rosenbluth’s vision.

Whether its paras ocean dancing in the midst of a nurse shark feeding frenzy or quads pounding the boards in search of the next score, Continue does not focus primarily on cream-of-the-crop athletes like other SCI-related sports films. It also highlights sports enthusiasts with no other inclination than to enjoy fresh air and a blood-pumping jaunt.

Viewers learn what is possible right now with the right equipment… and a doctor’s clearance, of course. Activities for paraplegics and quadriplegics alike appear with the funkadelic reggae-rock soundtrack. If you can use a sip and puff, Clawson confirms you can race down a ski slope, via a computer-generated model.

While the music periodically borders on maudlin, the awe-inspiring landscape that drapes the background reflects the audacity of the anonymous characters that carve, crank and careen their way along snowy ledges, dirt trails and raging rivers.

Anonymity, in fact, aligns Clawson’s Continue with an egalitarian spirit. The people in the short film – Continue runs under 30 minutes – reflect reality by offering a cross-cultural representation of the spinal cord injury community. Though different in color, culture, faith and fundamentals, it is the experience of spinal cord injury that unites this disparate group, and Continue is what they do.