Niagara Gazette —
But what is truly remarkable is that neither he nor his family ever thought his disease would ever stop him from following his dreams to become a filmmaker.
“I never viewed my life in the context of a disablility,” Anner said during a recent phone conversation from his Williamsville home were he was readying to take off on his road trip. “I was just following my passion.”
His mother, Susan, who joined the interview on the phone after Zach was finished, noted of her son’s cerebral palsy, “I always looked at Zach as a whole person. It wasn’t a big deal to us.” And as for the fame that came with the show and the disappointment of the cancellation, she noted, “we never said, ‘wow, Zach’s a star.’ We were always very cautious, but we thought of it as a step that could lead somewhere.”
Zach, too, knows that he was blessed by the experience and that lots of viewers support him, as much for being watchable and likeable as for being all that despite physical challenges.
“It wasn’t until all that attention from the Oprah show that I really recognized it hadn’t been done before and a lot of people were waiting for something like this,” he said of his OWN show.
“When people started to throw the words inspiration around I thought, ‘Oh, really?’ he added. “Because I had never lived my life in the context of ‘I have a disability so what I’m doing will be judged by others perceptions of people with disablitlites.”
Anner, who two years ago created the light hearted audition video that won him the chance for his own show on Winfrey’s OWN network, was not new to television or video production.
A college film major at the University of Texas in Austin, he was raised by a videographer dad who was always shooting video of him and his brother, Brad. His mom is a theater professor at the University of Buffalo, so the ability to create shows and peform in front of crowds seems to be in his nature. His gumption however, seems evolved from he and his family believing he can do anything he sets his mind to.