Read what critics and journalists have to say about POV’s My Way to Olympia. Watch it now on POV’s website and mobile apps until August 7, 2014.
Who better to cover the Paralympics, the international sporting event for athletes with physical disabilities, than Niko von Glasow, the world’s best-known disabled filmmaker? Unfortunately — or fortunately for anyone seeking an insightful and funny documentary — this filmmaker frankly hates sports and thinks the games are “a stupid idea.”
Born with severely shortened arms, von Glasow serves as an endearing guide to London’s Paralympics competition in My Way to Olympia. As he meets a one-handed Norwegian table tennis player, the Rwandan sitting volleyball team, an American archer without arms and a Greek paraplegic boccia player, his own stereotypes about disability and sports get delightfully punctured. Official Selection of the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival.
“A fresh, funny, uplifting documentary about disabled athletes. By making himself part of the story, von Glasow enriches the film with his own life experience, but also with deadpan charm and irreverent humor.”
— Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
“[von Glasow] starts defying expectations. Because you’ve seen profiles of such athletes before, you expect straightforward interviews in which they talk about overcoming adversity. . . . The bottom line has to be this: By the film’s end, do you sense that you know these athletes’ stories and feelings better than you would have with a conventional approach? The likely answer is yes.”
— Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times
“This is only partially a story of the glory of sport, or the pluckiness of the physically challenged. . . . von Glasow is . . . less interested in who wins than in their family dynamics and inner life. He grows especially close to the witty and composed [Greg] Polychronidis; by the end of the film, they are more or less doing comedy together, as they sneak a game of boccia on the ancient site of the Olympics . . . and depart like busted schoolboys.”
— Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times
“Forced to participate in athletics as a kid, [von Glasow] grew up hating sports—which doesn’t keep his film. . . from being touching, funny and even inspirational.”
— New York Daily News
“It’s a two-pronged story: One about disabled athletes and what motivates them; the other about a nonsports fan trying to understand it all. And being disabled himself, von Glasow turned out to be an ideal conduit through which this story is told.”
— George Dickey, Zap2it
“If Niko begins with the notion that the Paralympics are a “a big show to disguise the big problem between normal society and the disabled,” he comes to see the athletes he meets as individuals, each with their own reason for pursuing a goal, and each with their own support system. Utterly original.”
— Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
“Physically challenged filmmaker Niko von Glasow captures the stories of London’s Paralympics athletes — despite the face he hates sports!”
— “This Week’s Best Television,” Closer Weekly
“Niko von Glasow, a filmmaker born with short arms, presents his definite viewpoint on the Paralympics. Initially, he makes no secret of not being a fan of the competition—but his tune changes as he meets some of the participants in London.”
— TiVo Daily Picks
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