The Energy Within
"An inspirational film about why disability is not inspirational” is how director Samuel de Ceccatty described his film THE ENERGY WITHIN starring Paralympian and athlete Stef Reid, and I could not have summed it up better myself. A film that doesn’t go into detail about the struggles of living with a disability, it doesn’t give you any sad backstory; it simply displays perseverance and strength.
Stef, in her first acting role, plays Jenny – a keen runner who has recently lost part of her leg. While she works out how to live this new life given to her, she is determined to fulfil her desire to run. The surrounding players in the story act as props to fuel her: The coach who is quick to say, “I don’t coach disabled’s” or the one running mate who gushes, “you’re an inspiration, I don’t know how you get up in the morning”. Stef was clear to state that although this film wasn’t a true depiction of her life, the emotions were real and that was important for her to portray, as it is all too apparent that representation for those with disabilities is still so low. Channel4 are applauded for showcasing the talents of the ‘Superhumans’ when the Olympics or Winter Olympics are on, but as Ellie Simmonds (speaking on the panel) rightly noted, they compete in international events every year, and yet get no coverage. Despite this, positivity beamed from both Stef and Ellie who were both so proud of the vast changes that have already taken place, and optimistic for the diverse future of broadcasting.
This film is not about living with a disability, it is about persevering in the face of your own demons. At the Q&A, presenter Andy Stevenson very poignantly said, “Everyone has a disability, everyone has a challenge that they must overcome whether it's physical or emotional. But everyone has it in them to succeed” and that is at the heart of this film.