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KRIS & KYLE

are best friends in their twenties who got a wake up call that it was time to start tackling the world one adventure – big or small – at a time.  In an effort to not let spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) get in the way of their fun and their ambitions, they take on the comedy stage, artistic challenges, and politicians.

In Seattle, Washington 30-year-old Kris Napper, a graphic designer who uses just his right hand for all his masterpieces, emerges from the dense, rowdy crowd outside the Seahawks stadium. Most people nervously eye Kris as they look down at his demure frame and then to his almost 200 pound wheelchair powered by what looks like a car battery. He pays no mind to wandering eyes; he's used to it and handles it with nothing but comical grace. 

 

Since the only mobility writer and comedian 29-year-old Kyle Filkins has is the movement of his right thumb, he speaks into a voice recorder that turns his spoken words into a word document. He’s “writing” new material that he’ll test at his next comedy standup. Most who first meet Kyle first see his wheelchair and handle him with “kid gloves” as he says.  But once he opens his mouth everyone realizes that at his core, he’s just a regular guy who talks about sports like he’s a broadcaster, tells dirty jokes even in front of his mother, and fights with his sisters like every other sibling. 

 

Kris & Kyle is a humorous yet seriously in-depth feature-length documentary exploring the world of two friends who are choosing to tackle life, rather than let SMA deprive them of life-affirming adventures.  Their adventures will be our avenue into a world where the pitfalls of disability services will surface and frustrations come to light.  We will confront the word “disability” and hard-to-hear words such as “cripple” to get a first-person perspective on what these terms mean to Kris, Kyle, their friends & family, and other persons with SMA. By the end, we will know these two men in an intimate capacity and through that, tear into questions about SMA in an organic manner; walking away from the film better educated and able to treat those with the disease with more normalcy, respect, and give us the insight to question how we can better pave the way for independent living for the physically disabled population.

 

Part of the journey Kris and Kyle venture on will be fun such as performing five-minute comedy standup acts and paragliding, but the other items on their “to do” list include cutting through red-tape to move in together, and meeting with politicians to foster changes to disability services.