Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Other Film Festival

The Other Film Festival was a celebration of film by, with and about people with a disability. Held at the Arts House in North Melbourne, this venue was perfect, with it's cafe/bar downstairs (with a lift for accessibility, of course), and the gathering had such a great and inspiring vibe.

On Friday I went into town for the morning session, which was Making The Connection, and had a central theme of love and relationships.  The first two shorts were Australian, and were so lovely and really well done.  The first, 3.15 To Brunswick was introduced by the two actors in the film, and was a clever time-lapse style tale of two people sharing a moment whilst waiting for a train.  The second was the amazing Beautiful, which was!  A story of two people with an Intellectual Disability, in love and dealing with all the pressures, and teaching people around them, about being in love.  As I said, these 2 were really good.

The feature of this morning session was Strong Love, telling the story of the marriage of Jon and Holly, two Americans with Down Syndrome who met when they were at school.  A very American feel to the story, with the over-the-top management of disability, but their story was lovely and heart-warming.

There were lots of groups from programs at this session, and I spotted a young man who I worked with as an ABA Therapist when he was a boy, in the audience.  How amazing!

I was back at the Arts House on Sunday, and caught the Fresh Shorts collection - 6 short films, four of which I loved!  Veronika was told from the perspective of a young woman with Autism and multiple physical disabilities, and through using communication tools and the vivid work of a sand sculpturer, explained how her inner world works and how she meets her writing goals.  So insightful!

46/47 was a spin on how someone with genetic difference is viewed in the world, and was really thought-provoking and well done.  Frank, in Just Be Frank, tells his story as he gets used to a new guide dog and navigates his way around New York City.  A jazz singer, this short is a full look into his life, family and the everyday interactions he has at work and with friends.

The powerful Sunny Boy was probably my favourite film of this second session of films I attended, and showed the pain experienced by Danny and his want to join the world outside, if only to kick a soccer ball around!  Trapped inside by a skin condition and a severe aversion to the sun, this short is emotive and uplifting and devastating all at once.  Brilliantly done.

This film festival has been held bi-annually since 2004, and deserves a growing following from movie lovers and disability advocates alike, for it's impressive films, and the energy in the sessions and mingling before and after.  It was such a great vibe and event to be part of.


  1. I loved the festival and saw some brilliant films. The man who played the lead in Beautiful asked me to the movies - just as friends he added! So lovely.
    And lovely to meet you too.

    1. Was so great to finally meet you too, Carly!
      And thanks so much for introducing me to so many great people at the Festival!

  2. What a shame this type of event isn't more widely held across the country! Maybe some of the films will be shown individually in other venues - I'll look out for them!

    1. It felt like there is a lot of momentum and energy within the festival to make it bigger again next year...would be great for it to grow and travel. Or even gain a category in the bigger festivals like MIFF and SIFF.
      There is talent and passion here to do that, that's for sure!


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