SIFF 2024 Reaction – THE RIDE AHEAD

I have seen many documentaries ahead of and at SIFF this year and THE RIDE AHEAD comes swinging right out of the gate with its first weekend premiere at the SIFF Cinema Uptown!

About: Samuel Habib is an adventurous, cool, 20-year-old disabled guy who says things like, “Taking risks makes me feel proud, powerful, confident, bold.” He doesn’t want much for his adult life, just to “move into my own place, get married, and maybe have kids.” The Ride Ahead documents three years of Samuel’s search for how he can achieve things that feel so daunting for disabled folks; security, independence, and girlfriends. With the help of his father, filmmaker Daniel Habib, Sam outfits his chair with two video cameras, enabling the audience to see Samuel’s actual point-of-view and how people interact with him. Samuel tells his own story, in his own voice, with the assistance of lovely animation by Xilia Faye and Ben Luce. The question of how to live a great life as a disabled badass propels Samuel to interview leading disability activists and advocates Judy Heumann, Bob Williams, Keith Jones, Ali Stroker, Maysoon Zayid, Andrew Peterson, and Lydia X.Y. Brown. (Credit: Heather Marie Bartels)

Reaction: How can you not love someone like Samuel Habib? Certainly a person not to be talked down to or “treated like a five-year old”, Samuel is firmly in his body and mind, and this wonderful documentary THE RIDE AHEAD is such a positive, life-affirming experience where I wiped away tears of joy in some really tender moments where we see all of the challenges of his life, but you know what? Samuel pushes ahead and will not take attitude from anyone. The filmmakers most wise decision was to have Samuel’s narration through his speaking device which was so soothing and relaxing to listen to that you feel like you’re hanging out with him for 90 minutes. THE RIDE AHEAD reminded me of the power of 2014’s doc BECOMING BULLETPROOF which was about disabled actors putting on a movie and is a consistent reminder to give absolutely everyone a chance and to treat everyone equally, and to totally look past anyone’s disability. And at its core, this is such a human and entertaining documentary that I wish I could see more of these days. More people like Samuel please! 

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