The Impact Factor in How Far I’ll Go

In this article, we will share the story about the impact factor of the film How Far I’ll Go and how it inspires viewers to understand inclusive education better. The film tells the lives of two visually impaired teenage girls, their friendship, and their dream to live independently.

How Far I’ll Go shows us the reality of lives for people with disabilities. It tells the story of Andrea or Dea and Salsa who have been friends since childhood. Both were born with visually impaired disabilities, but they experience two different lives. Dea resides in the US while Salsa is in Indonesia. Despite their disability conditions, both Dea and Salsa dream to live independently, and this story tells about their struggles towards achieving their dreams.

The director, Ucu Agustin, chooses to present the story differently. Instead of bringing a story that revolves around the celebration of heroism for disabled people who succeed at overcoming their struggles and reach victory, Ucu focuses on presenting a humble, intimate story of day-to-day lives.

What has become an important highlight for How Far I’ll Go is inclusive education for people with disabilities. Not only that students with disabilities should be able to enjoy the same level of education as other students without disabilities, but they should have been granted facilities and psychological supports to make them feel accepted and equal to other students.

“I was surprised to know that Indonesia is the second largest country in the world with 2,5 percent of the citizens with blind and visually impaired disabilities,” said Ucu.

Ucu Agustin first met Andrea in the US when she just moved there. Andrea, with many of her achievements in making an impact in the community, succeeded to inspire her. For her, presenting the story of two growing up teenagers is important because it offers a glimpse of a story where the audiences can witness the development of two teenagers that is taking place in the world of people with special needs, especially those who are growing toward adulthood in two different countries.

The film director, Ucu Agustin
The film director, Ucu Agustin, presented in IF/Then 2018 [photo: doc. In-Docs]
Ucu pitched her project at Docs by The Sea Lab & Pitching Forum 2018 where her project was selected as one of the prize winners of IF/Then Southeast Asia Pitch Competition. How far I’ll go also received Piala Citra 2019 as the Best Short Documentary. The film is also screened in multiple film festivals across the world, including in Indonesia and the US.

Under the campaign #INDONESIAINKLUSIF, Ucu and the film’s Impact Producer, Mila Kamila, aims to promote the creation of an inclusive environment for the people with disabilities. They invite communities, non-profit organizations, film communities, universities, schools, government or non-governmental organizations, society, and individuals to participate in film screenings and organize discussions about inclusive communities. So far, there have been 34 organizations which join them to support the campaign. Ucu is hoping that everyone can enjoy the film, and can understand the realities, challenges and struggles faced by people with disabilities in day-to-day life.

Webinar with Gerakan Suka Baca, 17 January 2021 [photo: doc. Gambar Bergerak Films]
The film How Far I’ll Go uses audio description so that the film can be enjoyed for those with visually impaired disabilities, and closed caption in Indonesian for those with hearing impaired disabilities. Those without disabilities can try to close their eyes, or turn off the volume, and empathize with those who live with disabilities.

Film Screening with Komunitas Sahabat Difabel (Disabled Friends Community) in Semarang, 9 January 2021. (Photo doc. How Far I’ll Go)

“Watching How Far I’ll Go can give a new experience in enjoying audio visual work. Aside from delivering messages about how equality can be achieved, it also shows an example on how a film can be inclusive and can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Blindman Jack, a standup comedian and an activist for disabilities.

Those wanting to know more about the campaign can join their webinar Indonesia Inclusive: Acceptance, Integration, Inclusion and Opportunity for All, organized this Saturday, 20 February at 19.00. Register at http://sejauhkumelangkah.com/jadwal-putar-webinar/ to join the webinar. While those who are interested to join as a partner can follow the link to register at http://sejauhkumelangkah.com/mari-menonton/ or Facebook page @sejauhkumelangkah.

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