Becoming Helen Keller

Film Work In Progress

Your support can help us finish this project!

(Credit: Helen Keller, 1952, Jerusalem, Israel courtesy Karl Meyer Mideast Collection, Perkins School for the Blind)

We all know her name. The legend. The jokes.
But Keller's story is so much bigger!

Becoming Helen Keller, a work in progress, 2-hour film biography for the PBS series American Masters. It will bring Keller's story vividly to life with hundreds of rarely-seen photographs, historic film clips, innovative recreations, and a marvelous performance by the actress Cherry Jones. We think audiences will be surprised and engaged as this innovative work unfolds from Keller's point of view and those who knew her.

The film places Kellerís experiences and work freshly into the context of the historical experiences of people with disabilities. It reclaims her relevance to our present by making an uncommon strata of the visual and cultural record of her times once again visible and meaningful: from the poorhouses and segregated blind and deaf schools of her 19th c. childhood to her worldwide celebrity as a Goodwill Ambassador for the USA during the Cold War. Our work will expose and celebrate how our earlier generations of Americans built services and programs to foster what they understood as 'the public good'. Their struggles were long and slow and not always focused on human rights, but understanding what was accomplished by Keller and her colleagues makes the variety of paths to social justice more recognizable.