The PBS POV documentary When I Walk (dir. Jason DaSilva), about the struggles of a young man living with multiple sclerosis, took home an Emmy at the 36th News & Documentary Emmy Award Monday night. The film received the award in the long-form informational programming category. The documentary, directed by DaSilva about his life, was supported by the Center for Asian American Media with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CAAM co-presented the film on PBS’ POV in June of 2014.
“First and foremost, When I Walk would not be possible without the love and support of Alice Cook, my co-producer and partner in life, and not without the tough love of my own mother. Thanks Mom,” DaSilva said in his speech. “I’d like to thank everyone from PBS POV who has supported my films throughout the past decade. Finally and most importantly, this award is dedicated to all people with disabilities who put themselves out on screen. You are changing the face of media today. Keep on.”
DaSilva was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 25. “I saw my freedoms slow vanish,” he describes in his director’s statement. “All of a sudden, I found myself using a walker—now, a motorized chair—and planning daily activities with precise schedules and strategies for getting from one place to another, trying to maintain some semblance of the spontaneous city life I loved to live.”
The film has received critical acclaim, including from Los Angeles Times, where writer Inkoo Kang described it as “extraordinarily accomplished, poignant and wise.”
When I Walk is streaming on POV until October 13, 2015.
PBS received the most awards at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, taking home 17, with Frontline and POV series tying for most number of wins among PBS programs.