Documentary reveals unique community in Okanagan

A new documentary centring around the first year of one man’s life in a wheelchair gives the audience a glimpse into his life and the peer support group for people in wheelchairs, Accessible Okanagan.

“We wanted to capture as many firsts as possible, so our main subject who is Dan (McLean) from Kamloops was in an accident about four months before we talked to him,” said Ryan Tebbutt, producer.

Tebbut and director Chelsea McEvoy captured McLean and his wife, Colleen navigating and adjusting to life in a wheelchair. They were by the couple’s side when Dan first drove, went camping, went travelling and learning how to sit-ski.

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The story of the members of Accessible Okanagan is one close to Tebbutt and McEvoy’s hearts.

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“This story personally was important for myself to tell because my partner James Hektner is a paraplegic and he is also the president of Accessible Okanagan. So I have been involved in the wheelchair community through that for the past seven years now,” said McEvoy.

“It’s a very special community, they are uplifting; they help each other out its a bond you really can’t explain unless you are submersed in it.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Okanagan film festival created for filmmakers to stay connected

Fresh off their Canadian premiere at the Lunenburg Doc Fest in Nova Scotia this past weekend the filmmaking team has big hopes for their first feature documentary.

“We want to implement this film into all the rehab facilities across Canada for [anyone with] a new injury who is sitting in rehab wondering what life is going to be like now that’s one of the most important things we want to do,” said McEvoy.

The documentary film is now circulating the festival circuit and will be made public at a later date, for al updates visit their Facebook page. 

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