Family, friends, and strangers who had awakenings during the civil rights movement helped fellow citizens with disabilities win independence from impersonal institutional life. Now, 40 years after leaving those institutions, the men and women in A Quiet Revolution will tell their own stories.
A Quiet Revolution will feature South Dakotans. Why this state? South Dakota’s small population will allow any former institution resident who wishes to appear on camera to do so (those not making the film’s final cut will have their interviews archived). This state’s deinstitutionalization movement wasn’t sparked by a care crisis at its facilities, or because of class action lawsuits, as happened some other places. Rather, South Dakotans launched a grassroots movement, believing that moving people from institutional care into community life was the right course of action. Even with that positive start, however, the process wasn’t easy. It didn’t happen easily anywhere.