“Is There Anybody Out There?” – A Film Coming Your Way Soon

Poster, "Is Anybody Out There?"
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A remarkable film is coming your way.  Is There Anybody Out There? is directed by emerging filmmaker Ella Glendining and produced by Janine Marmot (Bodysong), is making its national broadcast premiere on POV Monday, July 8, 2024 (check local listings) and will be available to stream until August 7, 2024 at pbs.org, and the PBS App. The film is a personal exploration of a rare condition.  It is real, honest, captivating and beautiful as it explores difficult topics.  Plan to see this film.


The film explores the experience of being a disabled pregnant woman as well as the emotional process of becoming a mother. Glendining let’s the viewer into her life. It is a deeply person view of a woman living with a rare disability, her search worldwide for someone who looks like her with whom to connect and how she navigates her life. She was born without hip joints and short thigh bones. Early in the film she grappling with an unexpected pregnancy.  What will delivery be like?  Will her child also have the same disability that she has?

Ella. about to deliver her baby

This story is about ableism and the power of community – about living in a world where you’re seen as less than human – and what it takes to love yourself fiercely despite this. I found my response to the interviews with Gendining in the film, surprising.  When the camera was on her upper body, she is so lovely that my mind automatically filled in a lower body that would typically match.  When shots of her whole body were shown it was very different.  She has an unusual look and movement pattern.  She moves easily in and out of a wheelchair which upgrades her mobility.  She does not understand why wheel chairs get a bad wrap. She appears confident of herself and her body. As she embarks on a global quest to find someone with a body that looks like hers, she lives her life, mothering her son, exploring what it takes to love yourself fiercely as a disabled person in a non-disabled world. The cinematography captured the essence of Glendining, while the music enhanced the message of the film.

Ella Glendining as a childB©Piers Warren

Interestingly, in addition to standard closed captioning for the film, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations for audiences with sensory disabilities. Now in its 37th season, American Documentary’s multi award-winning series, POV, continues to mark its place as America’s longest running non-fiction series. 

Ella Glendining sits outside hosptial in USA ©Annemarie Lean-Vercoe

Is There Anybody Out There? is a Hot Property Films Ltd production in association with Tigerlily Two. Ella Glendining is the director and Janine Marmot is the producer. Annemarie Lean-Vercoe is the cinematographer and Rachel Roberts is the editor. The original score is composed by Erland Cooper.  The executive producers are Lisa Marie Russo, Nikki Pattott, Natasha Dack Ojumu, Mark Thomas, and Erika Dilday and Chris White for American Documentary | POV.  

Ella Glendining in cafe ©Annemarie Lean-Vercoe


Is There Anybody Out There? made its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival where it received a Grand Jury Prize World Cinema-Documentary nomination. It was an official selection of DOCNYC2023, 2023 ReelAbilitiesFilm Festival and the 2024 Sheffield DocFilm FEstival. The film has garnered several awards including the FIPRESCI Prize for International Documentary and the Silver Horn Award for Best Film on Social Issues at the 2023 Krakow Film Festival; the Bring the Change-Arca de Noè at the 2023 Biografilm Festival; and the Emerging Documentary Jury Award at the 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival. Additionally the film has received a number of nominations including the 2024 British Academy of Film and Television Award (BAFTA) for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer (Ella Glendining); the Audience Award Festival Favorites at SXSW 2023; the Golden Alexander-Newcomers Competition at the 2023 Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival; the Beyond the Screen Competition at the 2023 DocAviv Film Festival; and the Best Debut Director-Feature Documentary (Ella Glendining) and The Raindance Maverick Award (Janine Marmot and Ella Glendining) at the 2023 British Independent Film Awards. Ella Glendining also is the recipient of The New York Women in Film & Television Award (NYWIFT) for Excellence in Directing in 2024; and one of three recipients of the BFI & Chanel Filmmaker Awards celebrating “creative audacity” 2023. 

Ella and her son

Photos: Provided by POV



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