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. Image credit: Reid Davenport
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. Image credit: Reid Davenport
 

I Didn’t See You There

by Reid Davenport
After a circus tent goes up near his apartment, a disabled filmmaker commences an unflinching meditation on spectacle, (in)visibility, and the corrosive legacy of the freak show.
2022  ·  1h16m  ·  United States
English
About the Film

As a visibly disabled person, filmmaker Reid Davenport sets out to make a film about how he sees the world, from either his wheelchair or his two feet, without having to be seen himself. The unexpected arrival of a circus tent outside his apartment in Oakland, CA leads him to consider the history and legacy of P.T. Barnum’s Freak Show and its lingering presence in his daily life in the form of gawking, lack of access, and other forms of ableism.

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.

Offering both a perspective and stylistic approach that are rarely seen, Reid brings an urgently needed storytelling eye to filmmaking with a documentary that is powerful and emotional, thoughtful and raw, intimate and political.

Upcoming Screenings
Director
Reid Davenport
Producer
Keith Wilson
Editor
Todd Chandler
Executive Producer
Alysa Nahmias
Executive Producers
Bryn Mooser, Kathryn Everett, Andy Hsieh, Dawn Bonder, Marci Wiseman
Director of Photography
Reid Davenport
Associate Producer
Sasha Leitmann
Colorist
Natacha Ikoli
Online Editor
Chris Kenny
Lead Sound Designer & Re-recording Mixer
Tom Paul
Production Assistant
Lateef Mcleod
Assistant Editor
Anne Yao
Graphics
Dave Tecson
About the Director

Reid Davenport

Reid Davenport, director of I Didn’t See You There
Reid Davenport, director of I Didn’t See You There

Reid Davenport makes documentaries about disability from an overtly political perspective. Reid’s first feature film, I Didn’t See You There, won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. His 2016 short film, A Cerebral Game, won the Artistic Vision Award at the 2016 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival for “creating a visual landscape that is at once disorienting and nostalgic – and the result is so raw and compelling it’s impossible to turn away.” Reid’s short documentaries Wheelchair Diaries and RAMPED UP are distributed by New Day Films and his work has been supported by The Ford Foundation, Sundance Institute, Creative Capital, XTR, ITVS, NBCUniversal, CNN and the Points North Institute, among others. In 2020, he was named to DOC NYC’s “40 Filmmakers Under 40.”

 
Other films by Reid Davenport

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