Eventually, everyone realizes that self-sufficiency is a joke. It just happens a bit sooner to some people. ACT OF GOD tells the story of a disabled man’s single-minded pursuit of independence and how it goes very, very wrong. Written, directed, and performed by a lifelong wheelchair user, it portrays life with a disability as many actually experience it: demanding, energetic, and vital.
ACT OF GOD follows Stuart, a disabled man in his mid-thirties trying to exert some control over his chaotic life. It opens as a new home health aide, Paul, wakes Stuart up and gets him ready for the day. Over the course of their morning together, Paul attempts to broach a few uncomfortable subjects: did Stuart schedule someone to help him back into bed tonight? Is he finally going to get his chair fixed? Stuart deflects these questions and heads to work in his wheelchair, blocking out the conversation with a self-help audio track in his earbuds.
His ride to the office is interrupted by the discovery of a $100 bill lying in the middle of the road, abandoned. Because he can’t pick it up on his own, he simply leaves it on the pavement and continues on. After a long, strange day at the office, he heads home and finds the $100 bill still in place, waiting for him. It flutters away as soon as he moves towards it, leading him on a chase that eventually destroys his wheelchair and forces him to reconsider his toxic ideal of self-sufficiency.
About the Filmmaker
Spencer Cook is an Austin-based artist, designer, and disability activist. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Architecture he has lead a multi-disciplinary career, working on award-winning architectural and furniture design projects. His company, Access Design Consultants, serves the disabled and architectural communities of Texas by ensuring that new construction is accessible for all.
As a lifelong wheelchair user, Spencer is dedicated to helping improve the way people relate to disability. He is an experienced public speaker and writer having given presentations on living independently with a disability, raising children with disabilities, and universal design at conferences across the country. He believes that involving yourself in your community and exposing others to difference is itself a productive political act. To this end, he remains active in the visual arts, poetic, and improv communities of Austin, sharing his work and performing on a regular basis.