Shoulder the Lion

A film by Erinnisse Rebisz and Patryk Rebisz
74 minutes, color, USA/Poland, 2015
DVD includes: Closed Captions, Video Descripton for the Blind, Director’s Audio Commentary, Chapter Markers, Behind the Scenes Photo Slideshow

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“Shoulder the Lion” pushes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking by taking audiences on a powerful visual and auditory journey into the interior worlds of people forced to cope with extreme loss of senses.

Humans can close their eyes but never stop listening. This simple fact signals the end of musician Graham Sharpe’s career as a pathological noise invades his hearing. Alice Wingwall, a photographer who goes blind because of retinal disease, uses words to trigger the memory chip of her brain supplying motivations for the new photos.

In contrast, Katie Dallam (the real inspiration behind the film “Million Dollar Baby”), is beaten into a coma at her first professional boxing match and awakes weeks later without a memory or ability to filter the unfamiliar images she now paints.

Both thought-provoking and inspiring, “Shoulder The Lion” celebrates how the human spirit can triumph over adversity while finding new dreams and inspiration from within.


“The filmmakers have succeeded in creating a film that immerses viewers in an expressionistic experience. The film is beautiful in making the imaginative connections between the artists and their work, despite the many challenges they face. This is definitely not a conventional documentary, but transcends mundane objectivity to convey a heartwarming emotional subjectivity of the human spirit overcoming physical obstacles.” Rodney Buxton, Associate Professor in Media, Film and Journalism Studies, University of Denver

“‘Shoulder the Lion’ has opened the doors for artistic cinematic storytelling in the documentary format for many years to come.” Fernando Fernandez, Fern TV

“One of the more unique documentaries I’ve seen. A work of art in itself.” Stephen Pizzello, American Cinematographer

“This beautifully shot film follows three figures whose lives have been shaken due to sensory losses. The filmmakers use sophisticated camera techniques and soundtracks to simulate the subjects’ sensory deprivations and triumphs over adversity. This artistic film is a moving portrayal of the human spirit.”  Candace Smith, Booklist  Read full review

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