2016, 86 minutes
Who Am I To Stop (WAITSI) is a semi-observational exploration of isolation, art, and transformation after traumatic brain injury.
Who Am I To Stop (WAITSI) is a semi-observational exploration of isolation, art, and transformation after traumatic brain injury. We follow a young, mixed-race woman, a young, white man, and a middle-aged, white woman from the Pacific Northwest with brain injury. Despite vastly different experiences, all are beginning to test the waters of public performance and re-define a new life path as artists. Rather than define brain injury survivors by their deficits and limit their narratives to crash and recovery stories, we allow them to examine their lives, struggles, triumphs, self-doubt, goals, and personal agency. The film reveals art-making not as rehabilitation but a way to reconnect to a sense of purpose and pride, to protest disability stigma and social isolation, and to contribute to society. Brain injury survivors are not individuals on a private journey of healing; they are rooted in society, one that is often inaccessible and not understanding or accommodating. We give priority to the survivors' stories and perspectives rather than interviewing doctors, researchers, experts, and family. WAITSI faces difficult topics, allowing a thoughtful unfolding of questions around poverty, homelessness, suicidality, who might be to blame for the injury, and how each survivor can now take control of their own lives and flourish. Living life with brain injury disability requires the utmost creativity, and art becomes both a meaningful practice and a metaphor for life with disability.