The Other Film Festival
The Other Film Festival starts tomorrow in Melbourne. It is a festival held every two years that shows films about disability. This year there are 35 films from around the world. The types of films shown include comedy, drama and documentaries. The festival is at Arts House at the North Melbourne Town Hall. All films are accessible. Films have captions or are subtitled. Auslan interpreters are available for all events including speeches and introductions. All films are audio described for people who are blind or vision impaired. The theatre is wheelchair accessible. The festival finishes 23 September.
Posted by: Susan Frankel, on 18/09/12
The festival shows films about disability.
The Other Film Festival, which is on every two years in Melbourne, opens tomorrow. It is a festival dedicated to showing films about disability. There are 35 films from all over the world including Finland, Israel, China, Spain and Brazil.
The types of films on offer include comedy, drama, short films and documentaries. The films are clever. There are films about love between people with disabilities. There are tales about blindness, deafness and all kinds of impairments and little incidents.
The festival is at Arts House at the North Melbourne Town Hall. The venue is roomy, wheelchair accessible and seats 400. People with disabilities can sit with all their friends.
Catering for the audience
We are a lightening rod for people who feel they are excluded. Every year we get lots of robust feedback and that is how we develop. For example, at the last festival we had a huge response to deafness. Those films sold out, so we have to honour that audience and increase the capacity to cater to them, says The Other Film Festival's artistic director, Rick Randall.
Rick's achievements in cinematography both in Australia and overseas include work with people with a range of disabilities, Indigenous Australians and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
We want to transmit the values of inclusion. It's not enough to supply a limited number of places and choices, he says.
Access needs should be identified when you book your tickets but the organisers are keen to make sure all people with disabilities can come to the festival and enjoy every minute of it.
All films screened are captioned or subtitled. For the deaf community, Auslan interpreters are available for all spoken events including speeches, introductions, forums, workshops and Q&A sessions. All films are audio described for people who are blind or vision impaired, but you must book for foreign language film subtitles to be read out. A limited number of hand-held LCD screens are available but these must also be booked in advance.
Festival seats are equipped with an audio loop to enhance sound quality. Wireless headsets are also available for people who are hard of hearing. All public areas of the festival are wheelchair accessible, including toilets. Assistance dogs are also welcome. Companion Cards can be used at all sessions and forums. Information in alternative formats and detailed access information is available upon request.
For creators, critics and consumers
The 2012 Festival not only offers films, but other activities people can participate in. There are forums, discussions and presentations led by professionals with a strong background in the film industry. Some have a disability and others are disability activists.
Professional development workshops are for people with experience in film, acting and other associated professions. They are conducted by professionals with a track record in their fields.
People are not offered the same opportunities, so the festival is adding workshops for film makers who are deaf, for film makers with a disability and actors with a disability. There are workshops aimed at people with experience, says Rick.
People with a disability want to be creators, critics and consumers and participate fully in screen culture. The festival caters to people's aspirations.
Inclusiveness comes from the top down. The festival's four associate directors all have disabilities and each have their specialisations. Eva Sifis has coordinated the festival's sex forum, Gregory Mackay has focused on
The Other Club cafe, Sofya Gollan is involved in a film-making workshop and Sophie Sherriff was active in the film selection panel and promotion of the festival.
There has been a shift in how people with disabilities are seen. Activism has generated better access to cinemas. It's making them more accessible to people with sensory impairments, who are deaf, blind and hard of hearing. It's a result of community activism, says Rick.
The Other Film Festival is on from 19 to 23 September.
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