Tiphany was involved in a car accident in 2000 at the age of 17, and after many surgeries, required the use of a wheelchair. This did not stop her at all, it seems, as she became a fitness model and actress in the years following the accident. We see her shoot with photographer Kai York, who is an amazing photographer of both fashion and fitness. The work with Tiphany shown here is phenomenal, but the lensing is the fluid version of York's shooting. Precise, detailed, at points utterly compacted and at other points, so very expansive it feels as if it will lift off the screen. Director Justin Ferrato, along with producer York, have crafted a film with the power and detail of one of York's compositions, while erasing the distance that so much model photography imposes on the viewer. This is one of the things that most impressed me on my first viewing - there is both elevation and invitation, which is a difficult two-fer to manage.
This film rewards each viewing. It is lovely, it is powerful, it is inspirational, and it is sexy, something that goes against the frequently presented idea that those with spinal cord injuries who use wheelchairs are not desirable. Inspirational is allowed, of course, but here both her story and her absolutely stunning beauty and her work with York are put on equal footing, which makes it feel neither manipulative nor opportunistic, a curse held by many docs of this style. I love this movie, and am so glad we get to show it at Cinequest!
Tiphany screens as a part of DocuNation on March 1st at 415, March 5th at 615, and March 12 at 415 at the Century Theatres in Redwood City, and on March 7th at 345 at the Hammer Theatre in Downtown San Jose.