“IMPERFECT bleeds authenticity. The fearless nature of baring one’s soul on stage takes on new meaning in IMPERFECT. Was I weeping with overwhelming pride and pure unadulterated joy as opening night finally came to life? Yup. The cast and crew made magic for that audience, the one at home, and themselves. You’ll give them a standing ovation because “they had it coming, all along.” — Elizabeth Whittemore, Reel News Daily
“”As a longtime writer and film journalist with a disability, there were times during when I found myself wiping away tears during Regan Linton and Brian Malone’s “Imperfect,” a film that uncompromisingly captures the stories of disabled creatives without the usual stale narratives or inspiration porn that so often accompanies them.” — Richard Propes, The Independent Critic
“Lifts the curtain on a need for full representation and equity across the arts.”— Neil Baker, Cinerama Film
Follow the intimate stories of diverse actors with disabilities as they defy stereotypes and claim their place in the spotlight, demonstrating the creative power that comes from upending perfection.
imperfect is a story of artists who live and perform with the uniqueness of disability, having been denied their place in the spotlight.
The documentary follows a professional company of actors with all nature of disabilities – including spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, autism, low vision/blind, and multiple sclerosis – as they attempt an unprecedented version of the musical Chicago. The actors open the backstage door for the viewer, giving a rare and unfiltered look at the details of their daily lives, in and out of the theatre. The film chronicles their intimate stories as they persevere against obstacles in a world that excludes them.
imperfect re-humanizes people with disabilities, and gives everyone – disabled and nondisabled – permission to let go of inhibitions and ask the question, “Imperfect: aren’t we all?”
About Phamaly Theatre Company
Founded in 1989 by actors with disabilities, Phamaly Theatre Company is an award-winning, Denver-based disability affirmative theatre company that produces professional musicals and plays with actors living with all nature of disabilities – physical, cognitive, intellectual, emotional.
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While the past few years have seen improvement in visibility of d/Disability in entertainment and media, there is still a long way to go to achieve authentic and comprehensive representation of artists with disabilities on stage and screen…without condescension, pity, or stigmatization.
In 2017, the Ruderman Family Foundation produced a white paper showing that while 20-25% of the U.S. population has a disability, fewer than 2% of all television characters had a disability, and 95% of top TV show characters with disabilities were played by non-disabled performers (Ruderman 2017).
In 2021, a report from Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity (TTIE), Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Women in Film showed that 93.0% of writers said their most recent writers room had no Disabled or Deaf writers.
In theatre, there is no significant data available on representation of disability.
In addition to representation, the disability community still fights against shame-based narratives that prevent open and honest representation of disability in entertainment and media. Disabled characters that do show up are frequently one-dimensional, with disability overwhelming their stories at the exclusion of other experiences, traits, complexities, or life experiences. Especially in theatre, they are overwhelmingly played by non-disabled actors.
imperfect fights against these historical trends. The film puts strong, creative humans with disabilities front and center, telling their own stories, introducing the world to a theatre company where talented performers with disabilities do exist. Working under the direction of a disabled leader, they produce groundbreaking, award-winning productions.
As the entertainment industries begin to turn the tide around inclusion of disabled artists, imperfect actively presents many who are already doing the work – ready, willing, and able.
Actor, Director, True West Colorado Theatre Person of the Year (2017)
Image description: A white woman with short blonde hair. in jeans and a green collared shirt sits with leg crossed in a black frame manual wheelchair.
10-time Heartland Emmy®-Award winning filmmaker
Image description: A smiling white middle aged man with short grayish hair stands in front of a movie screen, wearing a purple lanyard and gray shirt.
Oscar®-winning producer and editor
Image description: A white man with a beard and dark rimmed classes stares at the camera with hands resting on the top of his head.
**REVIEW** – HAMMER TO NAIL – February 9, 2022 – “There’s laughter, there’s tears, and above all the truth of experience. The troupe is anything but “imperfect.” Encore, please!”
**REVIEW** – EAT DRINK FILMS – February 3, 2022 – “This film is imperfectly, perfectly wonderful.”
WESTWORD MAGAZINE – February 3, 2022 – “By following Phamaly, IMPERFECT challenges disability stereotypes.”
**REVIEW** – SCREEN COMMENT – February 2, 2022 – “This documentary serves as a perfect rejoinder for anyone who says ‘you can’t.’“
**REVIEW** – ONE OF US / SCREENER SQUAD – February 1, 2022 – “An honest film that delivers tons of emotions.”
**REVIEW** – MEDIA MIKES – January 28, 2022 – “IMPERFECT is a near flawless look at a once-in-a-lifetime production.”
**REVIEW** – REEL NEWS DAILY – January 26, 2022 – “IMPERFECT razzles dazzles ’em. … Frankly, I would watch a series of “imperfect” shows. It is a brilliant treatment for years of unique entertainment.”
**REVIEW** – THE INDEPENDENT CRITIC – January 29, 2022 – “From the opening frames of Imperfect, it becomes apparent that Regan Linton is a force to be reckoned with, an outspoken advocate with a richness of humanity and a deep well of talent whose presence has blazed trails and, yes, set the stage for others to follow.”
**REVIEW** – FRESHLY BUTTERED POPCORN – January 29, 2022 – “Still though what wins me over is the heartbeat in which this movie moves at and is driven by, the sense of community that resonates with the folks within it. This is less about overcoming and more about overachieving.”
**REVIEW** – CINERAMA FILM – January 28, 2022 – 4/5 – “Linton and Malone’s documentary goes beyond a mere celebration of Phamaly and its work. Imperfect tackles much broader themes of representation, opportunity, and involvement and deserves a standing ovation for doing so.”
**REVIEW** – SOUL CITI – January 28, 2022 – “I was absolutely blown away with this documentary, that shows the true heart of people that refuse to stay in the bubble that society puts them in.”
**REVIEW** – UNSEEN FILMS – January 28, 2022 – “Imperfect is a winner. This is a magical film that often kicks some serious ass.”
**REVIEW** – FILM THREAT – January 27, 2022 – 8.5/10 – “The documentary, directed by Linton and Brian Malone, is not about observing men and women struggle with physical, cognitive, intellectual, or emotional disabilities. It’s quite the opposite. It’s about watching a production come to life and one, that even for those who have no ailments, is a challenge.”
**REVIEW** – BAINS FILM REVIEWS – January 27, 2022 – 7.5/10 – “Imperfect pulls even the biggest skeptics of musical theater (i.e. me) into this film as it focuses so strongly on the ingenuity of man and what a role passion and vigor play in our day-to-day lives.”
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