By Marybeth Cale, Cale Communications and Living Rhinebeck Magazine
Photos by M. Salamone of Carrick Photography, http://www.carrick-photo.net/
Carrick/ M. Salamone photo blog – https://gr8full.wordpress.com/
Rhinebeck, NY (The Hollywood Times) 10/13/2017 – The Carpe Diem Andretta Award, sponsored by The Vincent J. Andretta Memorial Fund and presented to the film that best represents living life to the fullest, was awarded to director Lisa France and subject Gabriel Cordell for ROLL WITH ME at the Maverick Awards in Kingston, NY.
When director Lisa France introduced her documentary about a paraplegic man named Gabriel Cordell at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck today for the Woodstock Film Festival, there was no question the audience would be in for a treat. The connection France felt to the film was palpable as she opened the show, and carried past her remarks as the lights went down and the film began. The first several scenes were raw, painful, and eye-opening as Gabe described the tragic accident which stole most of his mobility and then took us through the feelings of helplessness and the experience of drug addiction that followed. The heart-wrenching lows and unique challenges, however, set the stage for what would be an extraordinary experience for Gabe, France, and the “extended family” that they brought on the road to make Gabe’s vision of travelling across the country from California to his hometown of West Hempstead, NY by wheelchair a reality. Despite personality differences, extreme weather conditions, a severe injury, rough terrain, and uncertainty about where the next meal might come from, Gabe’s bright light served as a beacon for the group and for the countless people they met along the way. With his sense of humor, sincerity, grit, and unwavering optimism, Gabe helped everyone from his nephew, who was less than 24 hours out from his last fix of crystal meth when they departed, to a perfect stranger who, after her thyroid stops working and she gains 120 lbs, wants to lose weight – as well as everyone else he met along the way. Stunning cinematography, wonderful character development, and an inspiring message which will resonate with everyone who has the good fortune to roll across the country with Gabriel Cordell. People like Gabe remind us of the power of the human spirit, and the importance of using that inner strength to build a life that will empower others. A gem!