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‘Far From the Tree’ director Rachel Dretzin takes closer look at family and otherness

Rachel Dretzin. Photo © Meredith Zinner Photography.

Rachel Dretzin © Meredith Zinner Photography.

Lesley Coffin: This isn’t a film made for children, but this film is a great film for families and can be used as a learning tool, as well as a really entertaining watch. Have you thought of how a movie like this can be used to teach things like acceptance and empathy?

Rachel Dretzin: I’ve been making documentaries since before I had my kids. And this is, by far, the film my own children have had the strongest reaction to. They’ve all seen it multiple times and they genuinely love the characters. I actually think this is a great film for children, it’s a film for grown-ups too, but children are so open, they really respond to the story. We are in a moment in our country where we are building a lot of walls against each other. Sometimes we know we’re building those walls and doing it consciously, and sometimes we don’t realize it. And even if we have compassion for people with disabilities, we don’t realize the wrong assumptions we still might have. I hope, and I think based on reactions, that this film turns those assumptions on their head, and gives audiences a new way to see otherness. I think this is definitely the right moment in our society to have a film like this. I want this film to help make us see each other in less of a closed way.

(To read the complete interview, please visit FF2 Media.)