"I feel like a Hollywood star," Chaisson gushes to a reporter with a video camera.
Cheryl Magnusson, another photographer from the "Shooting Beauty" film, arrived via a MBTA shuttle and the two were genuinely happy to see each other. The sheer joy Chaisson expressed when Magnusson arrived to the red-carpet event moved me to tears. It was friendship and love in its purest form. The unplanned encounter was enough to inspire me to wait in line, which stretched completely behind the theater, to the see the film.
I was not disappointed. "Shooting Beauty" was an unexpected gem of IFFBoston.
"Within 15 minutes of watching this film, we knew it would screen at the festival," says Adam Roffman, the executive director of IFFBoston. "This film speaks for itself."
"Shooting Beauty," which began filming 10 years ago, tells what happened when professional fashion photographer Courtney Bent gave cameras to people with cerebral palsy. Bent, armed with good intentions, had no clue what to expect. The result is a film that gives voice to those without a voice. It touches on universal themes--like friendship, unrequited love, isolation, fear and even death--but doesn't shove it down our throats.
"Shooting Beauty," a collaboration by Bent and now husband George Kachadorian, is an inspiring film about the human condition and the need for artistic expression.
Tony Knight, who has gone on to be an accomplished photographer, says in the film that his disability "is not who I am." After the IFFBoston screening, he shared the stage with Bent and Kachadorian and you could see how proud he was to finally be able to express his artistic sensibility to the masses.
"I'm going to ride this wave until it crashes," he says, after a lifetime of "being pointed at, whispered about, and according to him, misunderstood." His peers from the Watertown center were sitting in front of him, beaming with joy.
True beauty? They were all sitting in the front row of the Somerville Theatre tonight.
Click here for the lowdown on "Shooting Beauty."
--Photo courtesy Courtney Bent