“A robber’s plan goes horribly awry when he realizes that the store he has targeted is full of disabled people.”
It’s been a long path to the current state of affairs for Cameron and his directorial short film debut “The Co-Op”. What initially started as an entry in the 2017 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge 72 hour film festival has since gone on to feature in more than a dozen film festivals all over the world including Holly Shorts, Festival Inclus Barcelona, and its most recent addition and landing spot: Slamdance 2021. Due to the festival’s online status, this will be the film’s world premiere. Slamdance will host the Co-Op online starting February 12th as a part of its “most accessible event ever”. Beneath the wry wit and satire of the film, the director hopes that the festival platform can provide viewers with an entertaining and brief exposure to the vastly untapped world of real disabilities portrayed on screen: the film’s cast is made up almost entirely of disabled people. Hollywood has long ventriloquized disability for its means throughout its peppered and controversial history; an actual disabled person rarely is offered the roles that are meant to portray them in an already scarce market where said roles are determined by screenwriters, directors, and producers who are themselves able-bodied. As the robber comments “you folks should seriously consider adding some stairs…it is certainly attracting some undesirable clientele”, The Co-Op looks to point at and dismantle these attitudes in the cinematic universe and in the world around us.
The film and the director’s Philadelphia connection runs deep. Cameron is a Temple Alumni (Class of 2013) and went to high school at Strath Haven a few blocks away from where the Co-Op was shot in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. The cast and crew consists entirely of Philadelphia talent, many of whom also went to school in the area and lent their time and skills to the production of the film. The director looks to continue both the plight of the film and the Philadelphia connection with their forthcoming documentary feature “Disposable Humanity” (In Production) and with continued screening and grass roots viewings of The Co-Op.