Code of the Freaks
Directed by Salome Chasnoff
CODE OF THE FREAKS presents a radical reframing of the use of disabled characters in film. Using hundreds of clips spanning over 100 years of moviemaking, and a cast of disabled artists, scholars and activists, it’s a scorching critique of some of Hollywood’s most beloved characters. This revelatory documentary investigates the power of movie imagery to shape the beliefs and behaviors of the general public toward disabled people, and of disabled people toward themselves. Drawing its title from a line from Tod Browning’s notorious 1932 film, Freaks, CODE OF THE FREAKS debunks well-worn tropes – the miracle cure, the blind guy driving a car, the magical little people, the face-feelers, the sexless, the better off dead – and brings an entirely fresh perspective. It dares to imagine a cinematic landscape that centers the voices of disabled people.
This film includes Closed Captions (CC) – to activate, click the Subtitles button at the bottom-right of the video frame after hitting play on the feature film. If you require a version with Audio Description (AD), please email ReelAbilities Film Festival at reelabilities@
Timotheus Gordon, Jr.
Tsehaye Geralyn Hebert
Writers Susan Nussbaum, Alyson Patsavas and Carrie Sandahl
Produced by Salome Chasnoff, Susan Nussbaum, Alyson Patsavas, Jerzy Rose and Carrie Sandahl