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photo Outsider: The Life and Art of Judith Scott
By Betsy Bayha
Film Website

For more than a decade, Judith Scott has been deeply involved in making large, colorful body-like sculptures out of found objects and yarn. Her works are abstract, dense, multilayered and, ultimately, a mystery, yet she cannot tell us what they mean, or what inspires her to create these objects. Judith has Down syndrome, is deaf, and does not speak. These sculptures are her most complex means of communication.

Judith spent thirty-five years institutionalized, with no creative outlet. Because of her deafness, she had been misdiagnosed as having an IQ of only 30; her parents were told that there was no hope of her ever accomplishing anything. It was only when her twin sister Joyce regained custody of Judith in the 1980’s that her creative life began to blossom, when Joyce brought her to the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, the country’s oldest and largest community-based arts program for people with developmental disabilities. Today her work sells for thousands of dollars, and has captured the attention of collectors and museums worldwide. Though never fully aware of it herself, Judith had become a famous “outsider artist,” and Joyce, who never forgot or gave up on her sister, had proven the power of love and family connection.

From the studio where Judith created her sculptures to her group home in Berkeley, California; from the Ohio institution where she spent most of her life to the museums and galleries where her works are exhibited, Outsider takes us on an intimate journey into the life of this eccentric, but talented and compelling individual who flourished in the face of daunting odds.

26 minutes
© 2006
Purchase $229.00 DVD
Order No. QA-453
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-852-9
close captioned

Reviews
"Outsider is powerful. Shows Judith communicating very clearly and lovingly with her family and friends." Library Journal

Awards & Conference Screenings
Official Selection, Slamdance Film Festival
Official Selection, IFP Film Market
Mill Valley Film Festival
Sprout Film Festival
Official Selection, San Francisco International Film Festival
Mendocino Film Festival
Superfest, Award of Excellence
American Psychological Association
Real Abilities NY Disability Film Festival

Related Films
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Mothers of Courage: Bethany has multiple physical and developmental disabilities. Like thousands of dedicated parents, her mother has had to fight for years to get Bethany the medical and social services she needs.

Mayor of the West Side: What happens when love gets in the way of letting go? As a teenager with multiple disabilities prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, his family and community consider what Mark's life will be like when they are no longer able to protect him.

A Mind of Your Own: It's been estimated that every classroom has two or three kids with learning disabilities. This video profiles four courageous kids who don't let learning difficulties hold them back or get them down.

Raymond's Portrait: This video introduces viewers to a remarkable young man born with Down syndrome and it is a powerful example of what can happen when a child is encouraged to develop to his full potential, regardless of others perceptions about his abilities. DVD version has both closed-captions and audio description.


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