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Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007 07:56 am

Award winners

Two local disability activists subject of new film

Untitled Document For the past 37 years, Diana Braun and Kathy Conour have been inseparable. Braun, who has Down syndrome, and Conour, who has cerebral palsy, decided more than three decades ago that they were not meant for an institution. Instead, the pair built a house in Springfield, moved in together, and have been fighting for disability rights ever since.
Five years ago, their story of friendship and defiance inspired Oscar-nominated director Alice Elliott, who began traveling to Springfield from New York City to document their lives. The finished product, “Body and Soul: Diana and Kathy,” will premiere at 3 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Hilton Springfield, 700 E. Adams St. The sponsoring organizations — United Cerebral Palsy Land of Lincoln, Springfield Arc, and the Springfield Center for Independent Living — are asking for $5 contributions at the afternoon showing and for $10 contributions at the evening showing. Karen DeLay, SCIL community resource coordinator, says that Braun and Conour have been pillars of the community for years, and she hopes that people will come learn more about their difference-making journey. Plus, she says, it doesn’t hurt that the film is already generating buzz as an Academy Award contender.
“They’re talking about possible nomination for this film under documentaries in the Academy Awards,” DeLay says. “That’s really exciting for the town of Springfield, because I don’t think anything like that has ever happened here.”
Tickets are available at the door but can also be purchased in advance; call UCP at 217-525-6522, SPARC at 217-793-2100, or SCIL at 217-523-2587.
Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com.
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