Film Review: CRUTCH (directed by Sachi Cunningham and Chandler Evans | DOC NYC Film Festival)

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by Tony Frankel on November 3, 2020

in Film


If you’re looking for inspiration (and who isn’t these days?), check out the documentary Crutch, which is having its world premiere at the DOC NYC festival from November 11-19.

I confess I knew little about Bill Shannon, an almost uncategorizable performance artist who break dances and skates on crutches. Diagnosed in childhood with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease — a rare, degenerative condition of the hip — Shannon was born to move. The disease causes immense pain when one overuses the flat hip socket, so Shannon started developing ways to express himself early on; later, the rebellious punk morphs into a performer who challenges audiences to look at how they perceive disability.

Handsome, gregarious, and well-spoken, he is a perfect candidate for a doc: it is certain you have never seen the likes of Mr. Shannon before. Directors Sachi Cunningham and Chandler Evans (aka Vayabobo) culled from decades of archival footage — 8mm and Hi-8 to HD — and managed to make a cohesive and forward-moving story that will make you wonder why you’ve ever griped about anything. Even more important, you will glean how one can channel anger into art instead of into more anger. (Included with the screening ticket is an exclusive pre-recorded Q&A with Cunningham,  Vayabobo, and Mr. Shannon immediately following the film.)

World Premiere at DOC NYC
U.S. | Documentary | 93 minutes | NR
for more info, visit Crutch Doc

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Denise Neff November 14, 2020 at 2:40 pm

I enjoyed this film so much, my nephew, Vinny is 10 years old and was diagnosed with Perthes last year. We have been going through how best to help him as a family, sort of grasping at any information or advice we can find about this rare disease. The story he was telling was so moving, there were moments where it seemed like it was building up to something but didn’t quite get there; I knew there had to be more. At times it seemed like Shannon was struggling for a way to articulate this really profound message, something that he felt but could not get people to understand but I knew it the moment I saw it. Bill Shannon’s creativity and courage revealed this fundamental truth about assumptions and limitations that we place on each other and ourselves. Thanks and congratulations to each person who worked on this film, especially to Bill for showing us the way, and to his family for sharing their lives.


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