On Saturday, September 21, Philadelphia’s famed Kimmel Center hosted a charitable film screening to help raise funds and awareness for the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities and the Crossroads Adaptive Alliance. Attendees included Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Sharon Pinkenson and Joan Bressler of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Janet Carrus of The Carrus Foundation and Musical Chairs Producer, Cathey Romano of the Carrus Foundation, Musical Chairs film director and Philadelphia native Susan Seidelman, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Commission of People with Disabilities Charles Horton, Patrick Murphy, Sarah Cohen and Kendra Bailey from The Crossroads Adaptive Alliance, and former Governor Ed Rendell to list but a few. The extravagant night included a red carpet celebration, the screening of two films, and an exclusive after-party celebration. The 2 films screened were Modify to Fit and Musical Chairs.
Patrick Murphy’s short, Modify to Fit, is, at times, a caustic documentary that chronicles the struggle and determination of a fearsome athlete who refuses to live within anyone’s perceived limitations of her. Through the fevered pacing of frenetic camera cuts and the potent snippets of dialogue, this film’s intensity mirrors the inner fire of Kendra Bailey, a below elbow amputee who scorns pity. The brilliant paralleling of Bailey’s physical battle at the gym with her outspoken expression of her inner thoughts provides this short with astonishing insight and impressive depth. In just a few brief minutes, you meet Kendra, understand what fuels her drive, and witness exactly what she is capable of when she pushes herself beyond what seems possible. At it’s heart, Modify to Fit is a high-octane account of one seriously impressive woman’s resolve to overcome society’s perception of her.
In Musical Chairs, it is the sharp attention to detail and the vital nature of what is left unresolved and unsaid that cleave a bold and unique path through the copious tangle of striving outcasts stories which perpetually proliferate the film and television industry. Philadelphia native, Susan Seidelman has taken the classic underdog tale and instead of going bigger, she has turned the focus inward to depict the effort it takes to simply stand your ground when even the people closest to you don’t seem to believe in you.
Seidelman focuses on the daily struggles of laboring to be what you know you are instead of falling victim to what people think you should be. Whether it’s a relationship in conflict with cultural expectations or a lifelong dream that seems to be at an end, Susan dives in deep and explores the fundamental undercurrents nourishing self and strength of character. The film doesn’t spend much time brooding, it relies on music, humor, and the every-moment’s-a-celebration philosophy to let its positive message unfold.
With homage to films ranging from Saturday Night Fever to Lady and the Tramp, Musical Chairs is a triumphant and motivating story featuring a carnival of vibrant characters who show you how natural it is to just be who you are.
For more information on the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities and the Crossroads Adaptive Alliance please visit: www.phila.gov/mcpd and www.crossroadsalliance.org. For more information on Musical Chairs, visit: www.musicalchairsthefilm.com.