“A Whole Lott More“ is an engrossing new documentary film about the world of employment for people with disabilities. The film follows three fascinating individuals – each has a different attitude towards work and a different disability . It is an important film about an often ignored issue and powerfully brings to light how, for the good of all Americans, more people with disabilities must be included in the working world. The film recently debuted at the HotDocs film festival in Toronto where it won the Audience Award.
Around eight million people in America have a developmental disability. Those who work often find jobs in ‘workplaces’ – coalitions of businesses and social service agencies that traditionally provide manufacturing jobs. In Toledo, Ohio, there is Lott Industries. For decades Lott Industries competed successfully for auto industry contracts, employing 1200 workers with disabilities. With the collapse of the local auto industry in neighboring Detroit, Lott has struggled to keep its doors open.
A WHOLE LOTT MORE looks at the impact of Lott’s struggles and examines the wider world of employment options for people with disabilities. The documentary focuses on three unforgettable individuals. Each individual portrays a different attitude towards work and each with a different disability. The film showcases their incredible resilience and makes the case for greater employment opportunities for all.
“I started this movie after I was in a nearly fatal car accident,” says Director Victor Buhler. “During the fifteen months that I couldn’t walk, I went online and researched what life and work is like for people who live with severe disabilities, both physical and developmental. Much of what I found was sobering – but one story radically altered my perspective. The story of Lott Industries.” He admire the subjects of his film hugely: “They really want the things that we want. They want a good job, a place to live, they want a car,” he says, “They are also extraordinary people because they’ve been given challenges that they deal with.” He hopes the film will continue to raise awareness and cause debate on the subject. “The debate about ‘sheltered employment’ is important to address from all sides. There’s no question that a more inclusive work environment is crucial – how to achieve this is an important challenge. Business and social service must work together more closely to create sustainable and long term opportunities for people with disabilities. Finding jobs for many people with disabilities would improve their lives, would make them more visible and prominent in our wider society, would make for a more inclusive world and, with the right approach, could even benefit taxpayers. ”
Executive Producer Loreen Arbus adds, “It’s about inclusiveness, to show that people with disabilities can work, need work, love to work. We are working with national and international disability organizations to leverage the film to spark discussions about inclusive workplaces and making meaningful employment more attainable for people with disabilities.”
To learn more about A Whole Lott More and their amazing mission, visit the film’s website.