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Poetic shorts showcase people with disabilities

by Anthony di Salvo

Hold Me Down is one in a series of 13 poetic shorts made to showcase people with intellectual or developmental disabilities as poets and actors. The desired end result is to get viewers to see the ability, not the disability.


Marlon Foster recites a poem by Cam Lasley in the short film, Hold Me Down by Anthony Di Salvo.

To make these poetic shorts, I went through volumes of poems. For Hold Me Down, I selected a segment of a poem by Cam Lasley, a hip-hop artist with Down syndrome from Portland, Ore. Cam is a talented young man who made five music videos (free stream on Sproutflix) and four CDs.

For the actors, I selected Marlon Foster, a young man living in Brooklyn.

Even though Marlon had never acted before, he had a passion to act, and I knew he would give everything he had to the part.

During his audition Marlon shared his experiences of being bullied, being called names and having predetermined limitations placed on him.

As one listens to his strong interpretation of Cam’s words and message, you feel that he is speaking from his heart with deep dormant emotions.

Through this short video, Cam and Marlon powerfully express the struggles they go through while also being the voice of so many people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who remain unheard.

CLICK this link to watch Hold Me Down.

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