In honor of cerebral palsy awareness month, I’d like to shine and shed light on an upcoming documentary, ‘Born Ben’.
The film features a remarkable Windsor Warriors basketball star, valedictorian, and CT native, Ben Wallek. His story captures the struggles and triumphs associated with cerebral palsy; unfolding his life as an inspirational and motivational team player, multiple surgery survivor, academic standout and incredible soul.
Originating from a short interview, ‘Born Ben’ has blossomed into a full-fledged documentary containing the most moving depiction of Wallek’s life; educating and informing the world on what it’s like to be born into society with a disability.
The film synopsis is as follows –
‘Born Ben’ is an intimate, touching and eye-opening film about Ben Wallek’s incredible and inspiring life, living with cerebral palsy. From enduring painful, life-changing surgeries to becoming Valedictorian of his university and turning his school’s basketball program around to becoming the best in the league. After years of being dismissed and overcoming adversity, Wallek gets the opportunity to work with Jim Calhoun – one of the greatest college basketball coaches of our time. This film aids in educating society on cerebral palsy awareness and disability culture as a whole. Featuring interviews with prominent figures in the disability community, with expert specialist and doctor testimonials, we are able to learn more about the state of disability in society.
Produced by Panda Paw Productions, Directed and Written by Bilali Mack (Visual Effects Artist @ MPC), the film is assisted by Mazyar Sharifian (Digital Composer, Visual Effects Artist @ MPC), Liz Fisher (Video Editor, NYC) and Malcolm X Archibald (Marketing, Lewis Real Estate CT).
The trailer for this film is indisputably emotional; a truly moving story that I believe the world should have the opportunity to see and learn from. Disability is an extremely under-discussed topic within our communities that demands attention. There are still so many misconceptions about what it means to have a disability; attracting with it confusion, fear and discrimination from those both passively ignorant and uninformed. The truth of the matter is that such beauty, inspiration and enlightenment can be found from those with a story to tell. Ben has that story.
Born Ben Trailer #1
Born Ben Trailer #2
In an effort to understand more about this film’s impactful message, I reached out to Ben first-hand. When asked about what he hopes people will take away from the film, he states, “People will understand the importance of having a vision and [what it means] to take the steps to accomplish it each day. Never give up. All of the support has been amazing and touching.”
We also discussed his life’s biggest challenges, “Constantly overcoming discrimination. I overcame that by being determined and resilient. I developed the mindset of being successful; a lot of success comes from trial and error.”
I think most of us can only fathom what it’s like to go through life with a disability; to know what it’s like to persevere in the midst of societal judgment and prejudices; to rise above past your perceived limitations to attain unimaginable feats. Ben’s life is a truly profound one; one I believe should be heard; shared; celebrated and discussed by many.
Ben’s best friend and producer of the film, Bilali Mack states, “With the amount of discrimination and lack of inclusion in society today, this film is an inspiring reminder of the power of acceptance and perseverance in the face of adversity. We hope the film will help show that people with disabilities are the same as any of us and should be accepted and celebrated like all people…I would call Ben’s soul that of a warrior. This man had a vision and goal and has been taking steps towards it every single day; all while being told his entire life he’d never be able to walk.”
It is with this post in partnership with ‘Born Ben’ that I hope we can all start a conversation and open the discussion to increase disability awareness, acceptance and inclusion.
The independent documentary has gained traction on Kickstarter (only $6,000 away from their goal with 4 days to go).
For more information on how to contribute to the film’s production, click here.
Hoping this story brings love + inspiration into your hearts!
Until next time,