Sapna Ramnani – PhD student

Sapna Ramnani, an independent documentary film-maker since 2000, has Cerebral Palsy, effecting motor functions. Being a wheelchair user with speech impairment impacts on the way she produces documentaries. Sapna’s current method of work when interviewing on location is to train another person to ask questions on-camera under her supervision. Interviews appear formal and structured, not allowing Sapna, the film-maker, to spontaneously ask questions, or to make the interview informal and conversational while developing a relationship with interviewees.

Sapna will adapt conventional ways of interviewing on camera to make it possible for film makers with speech and communication impairments to take a more journalistic and spontaneous approach to documentary production with the physical limitations of film makers like herself in mind. This unique approach to documentary production will create possibilities for new ways of presenting information and issues to audiences. This study will explore how film makers with complex disabilities and communication impairments are able to produce documentaries independently and how technology and conventional interview techniques can be adapted to make this process easier.

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