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Student speaks at cerebral palsy event

Alexander Freeman ’14 was a featured speaker recently at the Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State (CP of NYS) Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York. CP of NYS is a network of service providers and advocates for people with disabilities across the state. Freeman closed the three-day event, which was attended by about 150 people, with a presentation about his films and a discussion of his life as a student and filmmaker with a disability.

Despite being born with cerebral palsy—which affects his ability to walk, use his hands, and speak fluently—the 24-year-old Visual and Media Arts major uses film to communicate with the world. He attended two other colleges before settling on Emerson, where he says he is fully accepted for his abilities as an artist and not defined or limited by his disability. “At Emerson, I am not disabled; people care and interact with me based on the merit of my skill, not on the grounds of what I struggle with,” said Freeman.

Alexander Freeman is pictured at the Cerebal Palsy Associations of New York State's Annual Conference with his personal care assistant Laura Brubaker. Photos compliments of Laura Brubaker.

Freeman was one of just three people to be selected internationally for an apprenticeship program based on his work as co-writer, co-producer, co-director, and editor of I Care: A Documentary About Independent Living. He also received the 2011 Team Hoyt Rising Star Award from Easter Seals, which recognizes an individual for his or her determination to change the way people with disabilities think about themselves while simultaneously changing how able-bodied people view disabled people.

In 2008, Freeman made his directorial debut with an adaptation of the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. He is also the screenwriter, co-producer, director, and editor of a new documentary titled The Last Taboo. The film explores the lives of people with disabilities and examines why sexuality and disability are considered taboo in our society. Freeman is the founder of Outcast Productions, an independent company dedicated to creating and distributing quality films encouraging new perspectives on the lives of people with disabilities and minority groups.

“Alex is quite an impressive guy, with a message and perspective that is backed up with real talent. He connected with our audience immediately,” said Mike Alvaro, executive vice president of CP of NYS and the conference director. “He refuses to be defined by his disability, and has set about using his considerable skills to open the world’s eyes to a perspective not many artists have conveyed as effectively as he has with his growing body of work. Alex certainly bears watching, and we are excited to see what the future holds for him.”

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