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CRUTCH chronicles the gravity defying life of Bill Shannon, an internationally renowned artist, breakdancer and skate punk — on crutches.


CRUTCH Laurels


Two decades of exclusive access, plus a lifetime of archival footage, depict Bill Shannon from his early years, to his rise as an award-winning dancer and cutting-edge performance artist whose work finds outlet at prestigious venues worldwide.

CRUTCH documents Bill's extraordinary journey: the history of his medical odyssey and his struggles with chronic pain, the evolution of his crutch dancing and skating, his rise to become a world-renowned performance artist, and his transformation from an angry skate punk to an international hero.

CRUTCH also dives into Bill's provocative street performances, in which he exposes the hidden world of assumptions disabled people encounter in public, on a daily basis. While the film questions his early exploitation of strangers' good Samaritan impulses, it also marvels at Bill's ability to create solutions and empower others to navigate similar challenges.

From childhood "cripple" to international provocateur, CRUTCH is an emotional story of a one-of-a-kind artist's struggle to be understood.

96 minutes
SDH Captioned

Directed by Sachi Cunningham, Vayabobo
Produced by Vayabobo, Sachi Cunningham
Writer: Vayabobo
Executive Producers: Stephen Nemeth, Michael Levin, Sarah Evans, Billy Graves, Tim Cunningham, Nancy Blachman
Co-Executive Producers: Earl Cole, Betsy Stahl
Editor: Nick Bradford
Directors of Photography: Sachi Cunningham, Vayabobo
Music: George Karpasitis, Te'Amir Sweeney
Music Supervisor: Jennifer Lanchart
A Vayabobo/Seasachi Film

We offer two basic screening options: in-person or virtual. Book an in-person screening using the button below. For an online screening, fill out the virtual screening request form.

For more information on virtual screening options, visit our Learn About Screenings page.


COMMUNITY SCREENINGS (single events with license to charge admission)
$100 Small Community Screening (1-50 people)
$200 Medium Community Screening (51-100 people)
$350 Large Community Screening (100+ people)

"You realize that CRUTCH may be about him, but it's also about us. Beneath its surface lays a strong critique of you, me, and all the ways we interact with individuals who have disabilities...CRUTCH suggests we discard our own metaphorical crutch, which is our presumptions about how to manage encounters with disabled individuals, and move, maybe unsteadily, to a place where we ask, rather than assume."
Erin Bomboy, The Dance Enthusiast

"A brilliant intersection of performance, movement science, and social commentary."
Pamela Block, Prof, Sociocultural Anthropology, Western University

"Watching Bill Shannon dance can be enthralling, disturbing and voyeuristically captivating. But what makes him such a singular artist is that he's likely to be carefully observing you, too...A powerful film."
Andrew Gilbert, KQED

"Sheds light on a much-overlooked artist who has created unlimited possibilities within his own limited situation. It's what they call 'flipping the script on traditional disability narratives.'"
Nadja Sayej, Forbes

"This is truly an inspiring story of overcoming constraints to make yourself a new kind of presence in the world...Moving in his own way, he seems to float above the ground. The crutches do not keep him earthbound. They make him fly."
Bradley Gibson, Film Threat

"CRUTCH is a global story, a powerful story, a transformational story, and one which will have you re-evaluating your own perspectives. From childhood 'cripple' to international provocateur, CRUTCH is an engrossing, emotional story of an artist's struggle to be understood."
Dance Informa Magazine

"Entertaining and enlightening."
Carla Hay, Culture Mix

"A cohesive and forward-moving story that will make you wonder why you've ever griped about anything."
Tony Frankel, Stage and Cinema

"His art didn't fit in with traditional styles, so he forged his own path and quickly invented an artistic language to explore the boundaries of his body and creativity. His dancing became political art...CRUTCH evolves into a fascinating study of art that asks about your own preconceptions."
Ricardo Gallegos, Shuffle Online

"THIS is a dancer you've never seen before...This is a great film to watch to celebrate the human spirit and unlimited human potential."
Trina Boice, Movie Review Mom

"Authentic and powerful documentary...We could all take a page from [Bill] Shannon's playbook."
Jennifer Vintzileaos, Starry Magazine

"A mind-blowing participatory work."
Mark Rifkin, This Week In New York

"A wonderful portrait of a man following his heart to do wondrous things."
Steve Kopian, Unseen Films

"A refreshing perspective that will grab your attention...It pushes past cynicism to teach and entertain and delight."
Liz Whittemore, Reel News Daily

"An exhilarating recounting of the artistry of Bill Shannon."
Brad Schreiber, Brad Schreiber

"A rare and necessary mirror to the able-bodied viewer's deeply ingrained subconscious perceptions of the disabled."
Michael Dequina, The Movie Report

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