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Locked In: The Victorian Arlen Story, an infectiously inspirational film

New Hampshire Film Festival goers were treated to a special screening of Locked In: The Victorian Arlen Story on Sunday at the Music Hall. The short documentary directed by Allison Ellwood and produced by Gary Cohen and Niki Usbay McDonald tells the incredible story of New Hampshire native Victoria Arlen’s incredible transition from a young paralyzed girl stricken with a mysterious illness to Olympic athlete, televised dancer, author and inspiration.

The film is in an incredible tribute to Arlen and her family and really exemplifies what it means to put all of your effort and all of your love into something and watch it turn into something beautiful. The film encapsulates through Victoria and her family’s incredible journey how the impossible becomes possible if you, as Victoria puts it, “Face it. Embrace it. Defy it. Conquer it.”.

The highlight of Sunday’s showing was a Q&A session with Victoria herself. A self-described “hot mess”, Victoria’s unbreakable spirit and incorrigible sense of humor (at one-point joking to a 7th grade teacher how unnecessary middle school is) was immediately recognizable. She answered a few audience questions about her life post illness, even pointing out her parents also present at the showing, with charisma and infectious enthusiasm. She went on to talk about future projects before being asked any final advice. She answered hesitantly initially before explaining that, “love conquers all”.

Be sure to see Locked In: The Victorian Arlen Story as part of the ESPN 30 for 30 series and watch for Victoria Arlen in the future, as there are no signs of slowing down for this exceptional young woman.


By Ken Severance-Camp