POV: I Didn’t See You There

POV: I Didn’t See You There

Mon, 01/09/2023 - 10:00pm - 11:00pm

Photo Description: In a reflection of an unmarked storefront is a grayish silhouette of a man using an electric wheelchair. Behind the man is a spectacular red and yellow circus tent.


Credit: Shared by POV

When a circus tent goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into a meditative journey exploring the history of freakdom, vision, and (in)visibility.

POV offers an intimate view of modern urban life, with its aggravations and unexpected moments of joy, from the point of view of first-time filmmaker Reid Davenport in the thoughtful documentary I Didn’t See You There, produced by Keith Wilson, airing Monday, January 9, 2023 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV. Filmed from Davenport’s physical perspective—a camera mounted to his wheelchair or handheld without himself being seen, the film serves as a clear rebuke to the norm of disabled people being seen and not heard.

In addition to standard closed captioning for the film, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities. 

When the unexpected arrival of a circus tent goes up outside of Davenport’s Oakland, CA apartment, he launches into a meditative journey exploring the history of freakdom, vision, and (in)visibility. As he confronts the legacy of the Freak Show and its lingering presence in his daily life in the form of gawking, lack of access and other forms of ableism, he ponders whether his past autobiographical filmmaking has fit into its tradition.

Informed by his position in space, lower to the ground, Davenport captures indelible images, often abstracted into shapes and patterns separate from their meaning. But the circus tent looms in the background, and is reverberated by tangible on-screen interruptions, from unsolicited offers of help to careless blocking of ramps. Personal and unflinching, I Didn't See You There forces the viewer to confront the spectacle and invisibility of disability.

This presentation is part of Dialogue on Disability, a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies - in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series. To learn more, visit WXXI.org/dod.