Thank you to Connor Long for this photo.

Why would you plan an event to honor Ethan at a movie theater of all places?

It’s a valid question. Since Ethan’s death, movie theaters have become traumascapes – places that trigger anxiety and depression – for many people, myself included.

Full of visual and sensory triggers, capable of eliciting a whole palette of emotions, traumascapes catalyze and shape remembering and reliving of traumatic events.” – Maria Tumarkin

I have not been able to enter a movie theater in four years.  The thought of being in a space that reminds me of the tragic events of January 12th, 2013 paralyzes me.  Taking my son there is out of the question.  To some, that may sound like an overreaction, but I’m guessing that I’m not alone.

So why would I choose to host a film festival in Ethan’s name?

Ethan loved going to the movies. It was something that gave him joy.  The men who caused Ethan’s death not only stole his life, they stole the joy those left behind might have gotten from seeing their favorite film on the big screen. Some of us have adapted by waiting for films to come out on cable or DVD.  We should not be giving those men the power to control our lives or impact the enjoyment we get from participating in our communities.

The film festival is a chance for us to take back that joy.

The event, which we hope will become an annual celebration, will allow us to come together as a community in hopes of conquering the triggers and removing the fear that resides in those spaces.  It’s also a chance for us to acknowledge the important work of people who, by following their own dreams, advance the cause of inclusion and understanding.

For this reason, we hope that you’ll consider joining us in Annapolis, Maryland when we participate in this small act of resistance to the status quo.

“In an age when someone with Down syndrome can star in a film, surely it should be safe for someone with Down syndrome to watch that film in a theater. Let our work as advocates honor Ethan as we make the world a better and more inclusive place for everyone, on and off the screen. #JusticeForEthan” – Connor Long

To learn more about the festival, purchase tickets, or support the cause via donation, please visit our website: http://saylorfilmfest.com/

If you can’t make it to Annapolis, please consider attending a movie in your area. Share pictures on our Facebook page and/or use the tags #SaylorFilmFest #TakingBackOurJoy #JusticeForEthan

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