A New Kind of Listening is an hour-long documentary that takes us inside the creative work of the Community Inclusive Theater Group, as director Richard Reho inspires cast members, some with disabilities, to be writers, actors and dancers in an original collaborative performance. Together they prove that a small community arts project has the power to transform lives.
The film is witness to Chris Mueller-Medlicott’s early, unrecognized attempts to communicate, and to his journey from a lonely, withdrawn adolescent to co-director of the theater group. Over the course of a year, Chris, a young man who has never spoken a word and has been mislabeled profoundly mentally retarded, breaks through into stunning self-expression. Using intimate footage of rehearsals and performances, synthesized voice recordings of Chris’ words, archival home videos and interviews with cast members, the film is a remarkable record of events culminating in a performance of “The Song that Greens the Earth” at one of Raleigh’s most prestigious theaters.
A New Kind of Listening weaves together deep feelings, playfulness, vulnerability, and unexpected loss into a joyful, painful celebration of our connection to each other. The result is a groundbreaking film that will change your beliefs about intelligence, disability and what it takes to be heard.
57 minutes | 4×3 | ntsc | color | English | Subtitles English
What people are saying about A New Kind of Listening
This film is the best demonstration of inclusive art and collective communicative growth that I have seen. The fusions and metamorphoses of the individuals with and without disabilities were beautiful, brilliant, warm and inspirational.
– Lou Brown, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisonsin
A New Kind of Listening shows that any form of expression, no matter how arduous or limited, can make a remarkable difference to the lives of people without speech.
– Rosemary Crossley, A.M., Ph.D
Poignant and Sensitive.
– Raleigh News and Observer
A surprising, beautifully made, heartfelt story. This film takes the life of a person some would over look and lifts it up in a simple and elegant film.
I highly recommend this to teachers, administrators, and people working in the arts. Parents and family members will see their own journey reflected in this well crafted film.
– Alice Elliott, director, The Collector of Bedford Street and Body and Soul
Its passionate argument for inclusion and respect make it a powerful piece of advocacy.
– The Independent Weekly
A beautiful, graceful and tremendously powerful film.
– Harlan Gradin, North Carolina Humanities Council
Each one of us who live with a disability have our unique challenges but the hope lies in our abilities. The sounds of silence have never been heard more loudly than in this inspirational work of art.
– Nancy Fudge, Mental Health Advocate and Consultant