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Crip Camp

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Crip Camp
Official release poster
Directed by
Written by
  • Nicole Newnham
  • James Lebrecht
Produced by
  • Nicole Newnham
  • James Lebrecht
  • Sara Bolder
CinematographyJustin Schein
Edited by
  • Andrew Gersh
  • Eileen Meyer
Music byBear McCreary
Distributed byNetflix
Release dates
  • January 23, 2020 (2020-01-23) (Sundance)
  • March 25, 2020 (2020-03-25) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution is a 2020 American documentary film directed, written, and co-produced by Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht. Barack and Michelle Obama served as executive producers under their Higher Ground Productions banner.[1]

Crip Camp had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2020, where it won the Audience Award. It was released on March 25, 2020, by Netflix and received acclaim from critics.[2] It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[3]


Crip Camp starts in 1971 at Camp Jened, a summer camp in New York described as a "loose, free-spirited camp designed for teens with disabilities".[4] Starring Larry Allison, Judith Heumann, James LeBrecht, Denise Sherer Jacobson, and Stephen Hofmann, the film focuses on those campers who became activists in the disability rights movement and follows their fight for accessibility legislation.[5][6]


The idea to make the film about Camp Jened started "with an offhand comment at lunch."[7] LeBrecht had worked with Newnham for 15 years as a co-director.[7] LeBrecht was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair to get around. He had never seen a documentary related to his "life's work as a disability rights advocate".[7] At the end of the lunch meeting, LeBrecht told Newnham, "You know, I've always wanted to see this film made about my summer camp", and she replied, "Oh, that's nice, why?" Newnham told The Guardian, "then he completely blew my mind" explaining why he wanted to make this film.[7] Newnham said:[8]

What Jim and I always felt is that we wanted the film to bring people into the world of Camp Jened, to give them that experience themselves: arriving at camp, checking out the scene, maybe feeling a little bit uncomfortable, not sure what's going on, not sure if they speak the language. Then, over time, they'd come to feel like this is a world that is fun and joyous and liberating for them as viewers, just like it was for Jim. Jim's personal story would bring you into that.


Crip Camp had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2020.[9][10] The film was released on March 25, 2020, by Netflix.[11] It was set to be released in a limited release the same day, but the theatrical release was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[12]


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 100% based on 99 reviews, with an average rating of 8.5/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "As entertaining as it is inspiring, Crip Camp uses one group's remarkable story to highlight hope for the future and the power of community."[13] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 86 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[5]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote, "this indispensable documentary defines what it means to call a movie 'inspiring'."[14] Justin Chang wrote for The Los Angeles Times that the film "delivers an appreciably blunt message".[15] Benjamin Lee of The Guardian wrote, "this impactful film shines a light on a forgotten fight for equality".[4] Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "My only hope is that the confrontational title and the Obama branding don't scare some viewers away from a story that is truly non-partisan, humane and significant".[16] Peter Debruge wrote for Variety that the film "proves to be the most educational for those born into a post-ADA world, a world of self-opening doors and accessible bathroom stalls and ramps that take wheelchairs into consideration".[6]

Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair wrote, "The spirit of revolution—righteously angry yet full of bonhomie, demanding but generous in its reach—is alive and well in the film. As, one hopes, it is everywhere else".[17] Carlos Ríos Espinosa of Human Rights Watch wrote, "The film made me realize the importance of building spaces for people with disabilities to organize".[18] Katie Rife of The A.V. Club wrote, "[the film] will serve as an enlightening look at how much has changed in the past 50 years".[19] Jake Coyle writing for The Washington Post wrote, "[the film] has a specific starting point but it unfolds as a broader chronicle of a decades-long fight for civil rights—one that has received less attention than other 20th century struggles for equity".[20]

Awards and nominations[edit]

List of awards and nominations received by Crip Camp
Year Award Category Result Ref(s).
2020 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Won [21]
Grand Jury Prize Nominated
Miami International Film Festival Best Documentary Nominated [22]
Zeno Mountain Award Won
Critics' Choice Award Best Documentary Feature Nominated [23]
2021 International Documentary Association Best Feature Won [24]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Original Score in a Documentary Nominated [25]
Independent Spirit Awards Best Documentary Feature Won [26][27]
Academy Awards Best Documentary Feature Nominated [28]
Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award Won [29][30]
Austin Film Critics Association Best Documentary Nominated [31]
Peabody Awards Documentary honoree Won [32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "An Obamas-Produced Doc Takes Viewers Inside the Birth of the Disability Rights Movement". Time. Archived from the original on 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  2. ^ "Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution". Rotten Tomatoes.
  3. ^ 2021|Oscars.org
  4. ^ a b Lee, Benjamin (2020-03-24). "Crip Camp review – rousing Netflix documentary traces disability rights movement". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  5. ^ a b "Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Debruge, Peter (2020-01-24). "'Crip Camp': Film Review". Variety. Archived from the original on 2020-03-02. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  7. ^ a b c d Horton, Adrian (2020-03-25). "'It blew my mind': the incredible story of Netflix's feelgood Crip Camp". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  8. ^ Wilkinson, Alissa (2020-03-25). "The disability community has a lot to teach a world in crisis, say the directors of Crip Camp". Vox. Archived from the original on 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  9. ^ "Crip Camp". Sundance Film Festival. Archived from the original on March 27, 2021. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  10. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (December 4, 2019). "Sundance Unveils Female-Powered Lineup Featuring Taylor Swift, Gloria Steinem, Abortion Road Trip Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  11. ^ Dry, Jude (March 11, 2020). "'Crip Camp' Trailer: Sundance Audience Winner Charts History of Disability Rights Movement". IndieWire. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  12. ^ Whipp, Glenn (March 20, 2020). "Film academy considers Oscar eligibility rules change with coronavirus theater closings". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  13. ^ "Crip Camp (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  14. ^ Travers, Peter (2020-03-25). "'Crip Camp' Review: Netflix Doc Revisits Ground Zero for Disability Rights Movement". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  15. ^ "Review: Netflix's 'Crip Camp' chronicles the birth of the disability rights movement". Los Angeles Times. 2020-03-24. Archived from the original on 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  16. ^ "'Crip Camp': Film Review | Sundance 2020". The Hollywood Reporter. 23 January 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  17. ^ Lawson, Richard. "Crip Camp Is the Kind of Inspiration We Need Right Now". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  18. ^ "'Crip Camp' Tells the Story of the US Disability Rights Movement". Human Rights Watch. 2020-03-24. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  19. ^ "Netflix's Crip Camp is a different kind of summer camp movie". Film. 25 March 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  20. ^ Coyle, Jake. "In 'Crip Camp,' a rare spotlight for disability rights". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 26 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  21. ^ Debruge, Peter (2020-02-02). "Sundance Winners: 'Minari' and 'Boys State' Take Top Honors". Variety. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  22. ^ "Awards 2020". Miami Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2020-03-26. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  23. ^ Thompson, Anne (2020-10-26). "'Crip Camp,' 'Gunda,' and 'Mr. Soul!' Lead Critics Choice Documentary Awards Nominations". IndieWire. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  24. ^ "IDA Documentary Awards 2021 Winners List in Full". The Hollywood Reporter. 2021-01-16. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  25. ^ Grein, Paul (January 27, 2021). "Diane Warren & James Newton Howard Among Top Winners at 2021 Hollywood Music in Media Awards". Billboard. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  26. ^ CRIP CAMP wins Best Documentary at the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards on official YouTube channel
  27. ^ Lewis, Hilary (January 26, 2021). "Film Independent Spirit Awards: 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always,' 'Minari,' 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom,' 'Nomadland' Top Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  28. ^ 2021 Oscars Nominations: The Full List of Nominees - Variety
  29. ^ Crip Camp - Netflix | 2021 duPont-Columbia Awards Ceremony on YouTube by Columbia Journalism School on YouTube
  30. ^ 2021 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award Winners Announced Tonight|Columbia Journalism School
  31. ^ Partridge, Jon (March 12, 2021). "2020 Austin Film Critics Association Award Nominations". Austin Film Critics Association. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  32. ^ "Crip Camp," from PeabodyAwards.com, 6/23/2021

External links[edit]