Santina Muha is a beautiful, vibrant actress. She’s curvy, she’s bubbly. She has great hair. She also just so happens to use a wheelchair. But in the modern age of Zoom meetings and virtual classes, being in a wheelchair isn’t the first thing people notice anymore. Sometimes, people don’t notice or know at all. All of this causes Santina and her team to ask the question–if you aren’t defined by others’ biases towards or against you, who do you get to be?
Developed as part of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Home Edition, Full Picture is a series of interviews between Santina and total strangers, shot and edited together over the course of five days. The concept is simple–the strangers have a one on one meeting with Santina via video chat–they discuss their similarities and differences, their likes and dislikes. At no point does Santina disclose her disability. After their meeting the producers ask a series of questions–How would you describe Santina? What kind of roles would you cast her in as an actress? And finally–did you notice she happens to be in a wheelchair? What ensues is a soul-searching quest for answers not just within the stranger’s hearts, but in Santina’s as well. What biases do we hold, for no reason other than appearances? Is ableism so rampant that even the disabled have biases, conscious or unconscious?
Full Picture charmingly asks each of us to acknowledge our biases, our privilege, and our ableism. With the same dazzling grin Santina offers to each of her video chat partners, we are asked to search ourselves and recognize that even the most aware among us might not realize the way we judge the world around us. Pity or sadness are not part of the picture–there’s no sob story here. Santina is stunning, smart, and more than happy to be everything she is. Her confidence is contagious, and her vivacious, tenacious energy brings the best out of every person interviewed, and out of us as an audience.
Full Picture is currently playing at Slamdance 2021.
8.5 out of 10