Synopsis of Abandoned Heroes (2008)

A Film By David Block


“Let us care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”   – Abraham Lincoln Second Inaugural, March 4, 1865


If Lincoln were alive today, he would be shocked.


Abandoned Heroes demonstrates how certain U.S. veterans return home to a thankless nation. For bravely serving the U.S. when Uncle Sam called, VA doors slammed in their faces. No financial compensation, no jobs offered, no place to live. The U.S. veterans, from Valley Forge to Operation Iraqi Freedom, were abandoned.


Abandoned Heroes is the overdue voice of veterans, crying out for justice. This disturbing documentary is the true account of veterans helping other veterans after organizations that were supposed to help, failed miserably.

Abandoned Heroes has won the following awards:



  • Best Short Documentary Award at the 9th Annual DIY Film Festival, 2011, CA
  • Best Documentary Award at the 2010 Directors Circle Festival of Shorts, PA
  • Best Documentary Award at the 2010 Great Lakes International Film Festival, PA
  • Best Independent Short Documentary Award at the 2009 Independent Film Festival of Tampa (Florida)“The Hidden injuries of American heroes begin to surface in this rare look at the forgotten conclusions of war.” Ken BurnsYou can watch Abandoned Heroes by going to the following link: of Goalball: A Sport for Good Listeners by David Block (1992)What team sport requires quickness, strength, agility, mental toughness and blind folds? Are you stumped? The sport is called Goalball and blind and visually impaired people play it worldwide. 

    Goalball: A Sport for Good Listeners is a 17-minute documentary that outlines the sport’s origins and the rules of the game. In addition, Goalball players explain how they coped with losing their vision and how they handled the frustration of repeatedly proving to public school teachers and coaches that they can play sports with their fully sighted peers. For many of the athletes, overcoming this obstacle was more challenging than taking part in sports. Many of the Goalball players credit Goalball with  raising their self-esteem.


    Synopsis of Portraits of Possibility by David Block (1996)


    A gun fires!  Olympic-caliber athletes emerge, competing in a variety of high-profile sporting events: Track, shot put, long jump, swimming and judo. Their athletic ability is awe-inspiring.

    In addition, they’re blind and visually impaired. How can a blind person run? How can a blind person swim? What are their capabilities? The athletes and their coaches unveil the answers.  Coaches learn that blind people are more capable than they thought.  The athletes describe some of the training techniques unique to blind sporting events and provide essential background outlining their training methods. For these blind athletes, overcoming discouragement was a tougher challenge than competing in sports.  Their stories are of humiliation, denial, isolation, and low expectations. Sports were a tool to help dispel some negative attitudes other people had toward them. Through competition, these athletes also developed self-confidence.

    Portraits of Possibility challenges some of the attitudes we have about blind and visually impaired people.  Given the chance, these athletes can do more than is possible to become champions. They are portraits of possibility.


    Here’s the link to watch Portraits of Possibility:

    Synopsis of Brian’s Run by David Block (2002) 

    On August 26, 1978, Brian Bratcher, a promising fifteen year old football player at West Chester Henderson High, sustained a life-challenging spinal cord injury during a scrimmage and became paralyzed.

    The community came up with the idea of organizing a sponsored 10K race as a way of defraying his medical costs and other expenses resulting from his injury. They hoped to get 100 participants for the one-time race, over 2000 showed up for the event. The race committee’s goal was to raise $500, but to their amazement, they raised $20,000.


    The injured Bratcher was overwhelmed and insisted “Next year, let’s do it for someone else.”

    Watch Brian’s Run

     Brian’s Run looks at how the injury of a talented athlete has become a source of inspiration for an entire community and created a 30-year tradition in West Chester, Pennsylvania.


    This Time It’s Real: The Rebirth of Professional Roller Derby
    By David Block (2012)

    In Word Association roller derby can trigger many responses: Pro wrestling on wheels, sexy women, tattoos. However, the sport was never meant to go down that path.


    Former Roller Derby star Judy Sowinski (1940 – 2011) and other former skaters tried to create a new roller derby league, Old School Derby association Pro. It was to be a professional league, minus the theatrics. The theatrics arguably marred the sport. The OSDAPRO skaters’ passion, dedication and great feats of athleticism make David Block’s film breath taking. Although Sowinski’s death brought the league to a dormant state,  her dream of creating OSDAPRO lives on. It can come true as long as skaters have the drive and determination to make it happen.

    Dancing Outside The Box By David Block (2012)


    Ballroom dancing merges the rhythm of the music with the graceful movements of the dancers as they glide around the floor. Dancing Outside the Box shows how wheelchair users and their able-bodied partners bring their two worlds together on the dance floor, creating beauty in motion and proving that everyone can dance.

    Watch Dancing Outside the Box:


    “Whatever you thought you knew about dancing, throw it out the window, because this documentary shows a whole new side of moving to music.” The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation


    Dancing Outside the Box has won the following awards:

  • The Life Tree Award at the 2013 Life Tree International Film Festival in Loveland, CO
  •  Best Documentary Short at the 2013 Eugene International Film Festival in Eugene, OR
  • Second Place Viewers’ Choice Award a the 2013 Roslyn Film Festival, in Roslyn, PA
  • Discovery Award received at the 2017 PHILLYCAM inaugural Award Ceremony Philadelphia, PA
  • The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation praised Dancing Outside The Box. Here’s what they wrote:“Dancing Outside the Box” short docu.Posted by JLo
    Wednesday, December 05, 2012I had the pleasure of watching the short documentary, “Dancing Outside the Box,” which was created by blind filmmaker, David Block. Whatever you thought you knew about dancing, throw it out the window, because this documentary shows a whole new side of moving to music; I’m talking about wheelchair dancing!Actually, it is about way more than just dancing. It is about the person dancing with their wheelchair in strengthening balance and abs, therapeutic activity, navigating in a wheelchair, interaction, and space awareness.“Why do I care so much about wheelchair dancing? I see the benefit of how it breaks down the social barriers of how people portray those who are less equal. I think it gives them the in for the person who is less able to interact with the able-bodied world, and it gives the able-bodied world the courage to go up to somebody who is less able.” – Ray Leight

    After watching it, you are going to want to dance the night away! Check out the trailer here.

    While you’re at it, get the first-ever training manual on integrated dance from The Dancing Wheels Company & School.


    Synopsis: Gift Horses By David Block (2016)


     “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”


     - Winston Churchill

    Horses don’t judge by appearance. They look past peoples’ disabilities and recognize the emotions inside. A horse is a mirror of the soul.

    Horseback riding provides physical therapy. Walking with the horse, touching the horse, grooming the horse provide emotional therapy.

     My documentary shows the benefits of using horses for therapy:

     Horseback riding helps certain people learn to walk.

  • Horses provide a safe and protected venue to help Autistic children speak for the first time.
  • Horses comfort people disabled by grief.
  • Horseback riding gives blind people the freedom and mobility to go wherever they want. 
  • Horseback riding puts wheelchair users at the same eye level as able-bodied riders.
  • Horseback riding gives wheelchair users the ability to travel over any terrain.  Gift Horses won the following film Festival Awards:
  • First Place The 2017 Media Film Festival Audience Award in Media, PA
    • Second Place Audience Award at the 2017 Southside Film Festival in Bethlehem, PA

     2016 IndieFest recipient of the Award of Merit: Documentary Short (Student)

  • 2016 IndieFEST Film Awards Humanitarian Award Honorable Mention
    • Best Director Documentary Short 2016 Atlantic City Cinefest in Atlantic City, NJ
    • Second Place Audience Award at the 2016 Roslyn Film Festival in Roslyn, PA

    (You can view the film by clicking this link)


3 thoughts on “Documentaries

  1. Pingback: Film Fervor: Episode 113 - Gift Horses - Film Fervor