TikTok Famous Dancer Freestyle

Annabel Hernandez, a born performer with Down syndrome, gets a chance to tell her story. This short film is at once an intimate portrait and a creative collaboration, stretching the boundaries of the documentary genre to better tell a personal story from a historically ignored perspective.

Annabel Hernandez (29) is no stranger to a stage. She’s a natural born performer. “I don’t get nervous”, she says. “More like... Confidence.” It radiates on her face.

Annabel lives in Wichita, KS with her parents and younger brother. She works part-time at her grandparents’ Mexican restaurant. “Mexico is in my blood”, she’ll have you know. Her interests include music, dance, sign language and sharing these with her 20k+ followers on TikTok. TikTok also serves as a platform for her to gather support for organizations that serve people with Down syndrome, like her.

The premise of this short film is to be a collaborative creative effort between the filmmakers and Annabel. It aims to elevate her voice and facilitate her own creative endeavors.

You will get to know Annabel in her daily life, what brings her joy, where she struggles. She’ll introduce us to her family and friends, her theater group, and the restaurant where she works.

We will put our production resources and expertise in service of Annabel’s vision by creating with her a musical number, bringing together her entire family and friends, which will be the climax of the film. By empowering a person with an intellectual disability to tell their own story in their own words and in their own way, we hope to open the eyes of viewers to how vast and diverse the neurodivergent community is. As a young woman with Down syndrome, Annabel’s perspective is unique and beyond what we can convey as three observers from outside the ID community. Her likes, dislikes, aspirations and obstacles reflect those of not only the greater D/deaf and disabled community, but the neuro typical audience as well. We all have a need to feel connected and that our lives have a greater purpose.

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