Act of God

A comedic short based on a true story. What happens here is straight from the lives of co-directors Parker Smith and Spencer Cook (first film). Spencer Cook is a disabled person and he and Parker Smith are friends. Both are filmmakers so it seemed natural for them to make this short based on themselves.

Here we get a day in the life of Stuart, who is disabled and in a wheelchair. He, because of his rough personality, has trouble keeping the caregivers he hires to help him from quitting. Stubborn, Stuart decides he can get through life entirely on his own. That belief crumbles after he sees a $100 bill lying on the ground and, while trying to get it, he falls, destroying his wheelchair.

This forces Stuart to make a phone call and also to reevaluate his insistence that he can be totally independent. How he can still be self-reliant while still asking for help when needed.

The short screened at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival and won an Audience Award. Mostly because it is a film about being disabled that does not cling to the usual tropes of the genre. It is not derivative. We do not get the usual disabled person is a hero or that the situation of being disabled is sad. Stuart is not a likable character. This makes him more realistic. A human being rather than a saint. A layered character.

We also see that a person like Stuart cannot really do the things he does without a caregiver. Caregiving is shown under a different light in Act of God. Examines what it truly is to be a caregiver. How someone can balance being a friend, employee and roommate. Becomes apparent very quickly with all the realism here that this would not be for everyone.

The easy way out is not taken here. Hard questions are asked here which will lead to plenty of conversations – by able and disabled people alike.

Parker was Spencer’s roommate and caregiver. Through all this the two filmmakers forges a trust and friendship. A product of that is this film.