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Disorder Channel Brings Rare Disease Stories to TV

Film festival founders create streaming channel for rare disease community.

lighted logo for THE DISORDER channel on black background

When movie theaters and other entertainment venues closed their doors across the globe this spring in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, Bo Bigelow and Daniel DeFabio were forced to readjust.

Bigelow and DeFabio have children living with rare diseases and are the founders of “Disorder: The Rare Disease Film Festival,” which showcases films centered on conditions and topics in the rare disease community.

After this year’s event, scheduled for New York City in May, was postponed, Bigelow and DeFabio shifted their focus from showing films in the theater to bringing them into the home. The result of their efforts is the Disorder Channel, a free streaming outlet that’s now available on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. The creators say the channel features films and original videos with a rare disease focus. The channel also includes films that were set to play at this year’s festival and others that were shown at the festival in prior years.

While the channel came about as the result of what DeFabio calls “unfortunately kind of a perfect storm,” he adds that the new service will allow the films to be seen by as many people as possible.

Beyond featuring rare disease films, the Disorder Channel also offers additional content about rare disease, including episodes of rare-disease talk shows.

This year’s Rare Disease Film Festival would have been the third edition of the event that launched in 2017. The slate of films was set to represent more than 60 rare diseases.