"What's Under Your Hat" came to notice when it recently screened in Sydney as part of the Spanish film festival - not somewhere we would usually look for a film about a person with Down syndrome, especially not an American. We are indebted to Dean Watson, or very own arts and culture monitor, who brought it to our attention.
This very powerful film is one of three we have discovered about Judith Scott, who became renowned as a sculptor, after an inauspicious start to life, and many years of living in a State institution with her needs and abilities unrecognised and unsupported. Judith's great good fortune was to be born a twin - her sister Joyce was able to eventually reconnect with her, rescue her from the institution, and introduce her to the Creative Growth Art Centre, in Oakland, California, where her artistic expression flourished.
Lola Barrera (director) and Julio Medem (producer) have given us a film that is more than documentary - it is engaging, confronting, uplifting, heartbreaking, hopeful, deeply respectful of the art that is its focus, and at times very funny.
DS NSW will try to obtain a DVD copy for our library. If you are in Brisbane, you still have a chance to see it when the Spanish Film Festival is presented there next week. The commentary is in English, with Spanish sub-titles. Don't miss it!