Ithaca College student Kristin Leffler was the recipient of the Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship at the 35th College Television Academy Awards for her documentary Following Flame, a short film about Lexington’s own cover band whose talented members have disabilities. Many television industry professionals attended the prestigious awards ceremony, which was held at the Television Academy's Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in Los Angeles on April 23, 2014. The Arbus Scholarship was presented by actor Robert David Hall, who said, “Following Flame was incredibly well done. As a musician, I was moved by the band’s talents.”
The film shows the impact the band has had on the lives of its members and sheds light on how people with disabilities are often treated and viewed in the United States. Using performance clips and interviews with band members, their families, Flame Manager Maria Nestle, Sound Manager George Spencer and Disabilities Advocate Larry Roberts from the Finger Lakes Independence Center, the film shares the story of Flame’s success.
Leffler became interested in filming a documentary about Flame for her Documentary Journalism Class after hearing about the band from a friend who had booked them to perform at Ithaca College. Flame’s focus on ability rather than disability resonated with Leffler, whose sister has both physical and mental disabilities. Flame’s music and positive message have proven to be a true inspiration for both Leffler sisters.
The Loreen Arbus Focus on Disability Scholarship recognizes a young talent whose work sheds light on people with disabilities, helps emerging artists gain recognition and increases visibility for artists with disabilities. The scholarship is presented to student writers, producers or directors with disabilities, producers of content focused on people with disabilities or to a piece that features one or more actors with disabilities.
The College Television Academy recognizes excellence in college student-produced video, digital and film work. For more information on the College Television Academy, visit www.emmysfoundation.org/college-television-awards. For more information about Flame, visit www.flametheband.com.