Watching the trailer to this film makes me so angry that this is happening to our brothers and sisters with disabilities living in nursing facilities! The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed so many inequalities for our community and this is one of them. Often our stories go untold so I am truly excited to see that the Reality Poets are sharing their experience through music, poetry, filmmaking and activism. I can’t wait for this film to be released and hope that will help make change.
About the Film:
“The Coler facility on Roosevelt Island—an [NYC Health + Hospitals] facility that was empty—is being immediately brought back online,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tells the press on March 16, 2020. But Coler is not empty. It is home to 500 disabled New Yorkers—poor, mostly Black and Brown, many undocumented. They all watch helplessly as the city moves 150 Covid-positive patients into this nursing home, turning Coler into a deathtrap.
Co-directed by Coler resident Andres “Jay” Molina, Fire Through Dry Grass uncovers in real-time, and with singular access, the devastation experienced by nursing home residents at a time when no outsiders are allowed in.
Molina is one of the Reality Poets, a group of Coler residents who use wheelchairs largely due to gun violence. Sporting snapback caps, Jordans, and gold chains, the Reality Poets don’t look like your typical nursing home residents. Until the pandemic, they traveled throughout the city sharing their art and hard-earned wisdom in schools and youth programs.
Now, using cellphones and GoPros clamped to their motorized wheelchairs, the Reality Poets tell the story that government officials don’t want you to see—the terrifying truth as it happens inside this city-run institution.