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"Murderball", Award-Winning Documentary On Athletes With Disability, To Be Shown At United Nations On 1 December


Featuring fierce rivalry, stopwatch suspense, and larger-than-life personalities, Murderball, one of the hit movies of summer 2005 and winner of the Documentary Audience Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, will be shown on Thursday, 1 December, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the United Nations Dag Hammarskj÷ld Auditorium.

The movie will be presented on the occasion of International Day of Disabled Persons, 3 December, with co-director Dana Adam Shapiro in attendance.

Murderball, a film by Mr. Shapiro, Jeffrey Mandel and Henry-Alex Rubin, is about tough, highly competitive, quadriplegic rugby players. Whether by car wreck, fist fight, gun shot or rogue bacteria, these men were forced to live life sitting down. In their own version of the contact sport, they clash against each other in custom-made gladiator-like wheelchairs.

From the gyms of Middle America to the Olympic arena in Athens, Greece, Murderball tells the story of a group of world-class athletes unlike any ever shown on screen. In addition to smashing chairs, it smashes every stereotype about people with disabilities. It is a film about family, revenge, honour, sex and the triumph of love over loss. But most of all, it is a film about standing up, even after your spirit -- and your spine -- has been crushed.

Quadriplegic rugby is played on a basketball court with four eight-minute quarters, during which players wheel nimbly, collide brutally, pass strategically and sometimes knock each other over to get the ball into the end zone. More mobile players handle the ball, while more impaired ones handle defensive blocking.

The documentary debunks the misconceptions many people have about quadriplegics. As the film shows, with therapy and the help of wheelchairs, quadriplegics can lead independent lives. They can drive, cook, have sex, and as the opening scene of the film illustrates, put on their pants one leg at a time, just like everyone else.

The showing of Murderball is an initiative of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs in cooperation with THINKFilm.


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