Health & Wellness Society & Culture

UGA creating documentary about love and committed relationships

Athens, Ga. – Filmmakers from the University of Georgia Institute on Human Development and Disability will be traveling across the country this month to create a feature-length documentary, The Love Seat. They will be looking for couples in committed loving relationships, where either one or both partners have a disability, to tell their stories. Filmmakers will take an actual love seat in a van to nine cities to interview as many couples as possible for the documentary.

According to a national survey, people with disabilities partner, marry, and have children at about the same rate as people who identify as not having disabilities. The goal of the film is to address the social stigma that the filmmakers say seems to be associated with these relationships.

“This film will send a powerful message that people with disabilities have lasting, loving adult relationships, with all the wonder, intimacy, and uniqueness that characterize these relationships for all people,” said Zolinda Stoneman, professor of child and family development and director of the IHDD.

“We often take it for granted but being in a loving relationship adds so much to your life,” said Becky Brightwell, associate director of the IHDD. “We really need to address the taboo that exists, particularly in the media, when it comes to being in a loving intimate relationship and having a disability.”

“With The Love Seat we want to educate, inform, and entertain people with stories about romance, struggle, passion, compromise, frustration, beauty, and of course, love,” said Brightwell.

The filmmakers also want to use The Love Seat film to educate the media and as a training tool to show support staff how important love relationships are and how important it is to support these relationships. “This is not a movie about people with a disability in love, it’s about people in love,” said Brightwell.

The Love Seat is going to the following cities:

Chattanooga, Tenn., Sept. 18, 12 – 6 p.m.
Hampton Inn Downtown, 2420 Williams Street, Chattanooga

Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 19, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Homewood Suites, 706 Church Street, Nashville

Paducah, Ky., Sept. 20, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Drury Hotel, 3975 Hinkleville Road, Paducah

St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 21, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Holiday Inn Downtown, 98 North 9th St., St. Louis

Columbia, Mo., Sept. 22, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Country Inn & Suites, 817 North Keene St, Columbia

Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 23-25, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily
Westin Crown Center Hotel, 1 Pershing Road, Kansas City

Springfield, Mo., Sept. 26, 2 – 6 p.m.
Comfort Inn, 2815 N Glenstone Ave, Springfield

Memphis, Tenn., Sept. 27, 2 – 8 p.m. and Sept. 28, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 300 N 2nd St., Memphis

Birmingham, Ala., Sept. 29, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Redmont Hotel, 2101 5th Avenue North, Birmingham

Interested couples should contact the IHDD at 706/583-0547 or to make an appointment.

IHDD is a UGA Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service.