Rolling – a documentary

A film that inspires compassion…

Physician-film maker Gretchen Berland documents life in a wheelchair in this extraordinary documentary. It was filmed mostly by three participants, using video cameras attached to their wheelchairs to convey their experience of daily life. Vicki Elman, Ernie Wallengren, and Galen Buckwater record their viewpoints with what is, at times, almost painful honesty as they navigate their everyday lives.

Go to this website to see three sections of Rolling available for free.

…and demands justice.

It is also a film that conveys society’s disregard for those with disabilities. In a heartbreaking scene one of the participants, Vicki, is stranded just outside her home because her wheelchair has broken, again. Without cell phone service she is utterly alone, and faces the prospect of spending a cold night outside her own front door.

Berland’s work is inspiring to me because it uncovers a failure to acknowledge the perspective of a group of people within our society. The photo above is a wheelchair compatible swing set in New Zealand that reminded me of how little thought we generally give to the needs of others in our communities.

If we don’t put the video camera, whether literal or figurative, into the hands of a given population are we really trying to understand their perspective? Or are we only guessing at their needs so that we don’t have to?


  1. […] of living must have their own burdens and complications, and both can also be isolating. Go to my post on the the film Rolling to learn about a film that portrays the beauty of the survivor while depicting highly visible […]