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Special Ed DVD


by John Paskievich
102 minutes | Documentary | HD | Colour | 2013

An often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking film of the joys and tribulations of Ed Ackerman, a dreamer who never lets a solution get in the way of a good problem.

As a living composite of Don Quixote, Peter Pan, the biblical Job and Charlie Chaplin—Ed straddles the twisting road of fate coping with poverty and fending off homelessness on the brink of alienation from friends, family, and peers.

For Ed, like Sisyphus of Greek Mythology, it’s the struggle itself that fills his heart. Special Ed inspires and provokes us to think about the spark that keeps us going through the good times and the bad.

Director’s Statement

“I began Special Ed with the rather simple intent of making a short documentary on an alphabet animation project that Ed had designed for the National Film Board of Canada to help children read, write and perform.

However, not long after I began filming, a series of events led me to follow Ed down a series of conjoined rabbit holes where over the course of three years I received a special education in a host of disparate subjects that included, among others, spelling, mayoral and federal politics, winter camping, learning disabilities, urban backyard wells, human rights, the timeless delights and perils of love and marriage, homelessness, burdock sweaters, police malfeasance and cooking with pig tails.”

“Life is short”, says Ed, “but it’s wide”.


John Paskievich is an award winning filmmaker and photographer based in Winnipeg.

His films have focused on a remarkable range of humanity that includes Inuit stone carvers from Baffin Island, Roma in Slovakia, Old Believers in Northern Alberta, Ukrainians in their newly independent homeland, a Canadian farmer facing bankruptcy and persons who cope with the challenges of stuttering.

Paskievich’s last film, The Storytelling Class, made with John Whiteway, follows an inner city teacher and an ethnically diverse group of students who come together in an after hours storytelling project. An accomplished still photographer, Paskievich‘s work has been exhibited widely and published in several books, including his latest, titled, The North End.


> > The Home Use DVD is meant for private, home viewing only for individuals, including home schooling for up to 8 people.
> > This DVD is not meant to be screened in front of a large group in a workshop, classroom or community setting. Please see the categories below if you wish to screen it publicly.
> > Any form of copying or altering of the format purchased is not permitted.

Thank you for supporting independent filmmakers and respecting their rights for proper compensation for their work. We return 70% of revenues to the artists.

For all other uses other than private, at home use you must select one of the following options:

(includes K-12 and Public Libraries)

> > This DVD is priced to accommodate library borrowing and educational screenings within a single library, school, small office, or hospital.
> > Circulating outside the organization, institution, or office or to donate programs to other organizations or institutions are not included or permitted under this sale except for home borrowing at public libraries. Any form of copying or altering of the format purchased is not permitted.
> > Thank you for respecting the independent artists who made this film.
> > PUBLIC LIBRARIES – Please enquire about discounts for multiple copies purchased for branch libraries.
> > SCHOOL BOARDS – please purchase the Institutional DVD.


> > This DVD is designed for non-profit and small community groups wishing to screen the film in an educational setting to groups of 50 people maximum.
> > Please contact us with any questions if you are screening to a larger audience.
> > Thank you for respecting the independent artists who made this film.


> > This DVD is priced in accordance with how many people could potentially watch it. At a large university or school board the potential of hundreds of viewers dictates this price.
> > This DVD is designed for library and instructional use in a workshop or classroom setting at a university or school board. Circulation to multiple departments, institutions or offices within a jurisdiction such as schools within a school district or offices within a company is permitted.
> > Please note: Any form of copying or altering of the format purchased is not permitted. Please contact us for streaming enquiries.
> > Thank you for respecting the independent artists who made this film.

For more information or if you have any questions or special requests please contact the Distribution Director, Monica Lowe: 

+1 (204) 925-3456 ext. 103 /

SKU: 085 Categories: , ,

Additional information

Weight 140 g

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The Winnipeg Film Group is an artist-run education, production, exhibition and distribution centre committed to promoting the art of cinema.
our location

We’re located in the heart of Winnipeg's historic Exchange District in the Artspace building. We are across the street from Old Market Square at the corner of Arthur Street and Bannatyne - one block west of Main.

The Winnipeg Film Group is located on Treaty 1 Territory and on the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene Peoples and in the homeland of the Métis Nation. We offer our respect and gratitude to the traditional caretakers of this land.