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Using Acclaimed Films to Teach Inclusiveness

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Courtesy publicity photo
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Who doesn't like movies? That's what Disability Network Southwest Michigan is banking on. For three months, it's showing critically-acclaimed films for free, over lunch, in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and St. Joseph. The movie for March is "Keep the Change," a romantic comedy about a couple with autism. What's ground-breaking about this film is its leads, in fact, have autism in real life. The first screening is March 18 at the Disability Network's downtown Kalamazoo office.

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Credit Earlene McMichael | WMUK
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Miranda Grunwell is community educator coordinator at Disability Network Southwest Michigan.

Miranda Grunwell, the agency's community education coordinator, joins us on the WMUK's WestSouthwest news & public affairs show to talk about the Lunch & Learn Movie Series, which is now in its second year. She says the hope is movie patrons will leave wanting to make their spaces more inclusive. The February film was the documentary "Intelligent Lives" about three young adults with intellectual disabilities.

"Keep the Change" won two awards at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, Best U.S. Narrative Feature and Best New Narrative Director. Screenings are March 18 in Kalamazoo, March 26 in Battle Creek and March 27 in St. Joseph, followed by a brief discussion. All showtimes are 11:30 a.m.

The event is free of charge, open to the public and includes lunch, but pre-registration is suggested for a headcount. Click here for more information, such as locations of film viewings. Organizers ask that attendees refrain from wearing fragrances for the well-being of those with scent sensitivities. 

In April, Disability Network will show "Infinitely Polar Bear" in Kalamazoo on April 17, in St. Joseph on April 24 and in Battle Creek on April 30. The movie is based on a true story about a father raising children alone while recovering from a manic breakdown. It earned Mark Ruffalo an Oscar nomination in 2015 for Best Actor in the Musical or Comedy category.

Hear the longer interview

WestSouthwest news & public affairs show airs Mondays and Thursdays on WMUK 102.1 FM at 7:34 a.m., 9:34 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. You can subscribe to the WestSouthwest podcast through Apple itunes and Google. There you can leave a rating and write a review.

Earlene McMichael was WMUK's local host of NPR's Morning Edition from August 2012 through October 2021. A former, long-time Kalamazoo Gazette editor, reporter, and columnist, she was a news anchor at WHCU-FM when it was owned by Cornell University, her alma mater.
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