A Film Festival With A Difference
The Other Film Festival is back with the simple goal of changing how everyone thinks about disability.
While people with a disability make up twenty percent of the world’s population, their stories and perspectives are rarely shown on screen. Since its inception in 2004, the Other Film Festival has run a bi-annual program that aims to change that, providing both a space for people with a disability to share their stories and also a forum for them to voice their issues and concerns.
The Other Film Festival’s diverse nineteen-session program consists of a wide range of disability-related film categories, from Am I So Different? to Deaf Experience. With 36 films, of varying styles and subjects, it’s definitely one of the country’s most truly diverse platforms.
Opening night comprises of three fascinating short films. Deaf Mugger is a look at a deaf mugger, and his hired sign interpreter, which succeeds in light-heartedly illustrating the desire of deaf people to be heard, and proving that these types of films do not have to be sad and dramatic to get their point across.
Aphasia is the life-affirming true story of Carl McIntyre (played by himself), a successful actor and salesman who is recovering from a damaging stroke, which has left him unable to read, speak or write. Apahasia is focused on Carl’s determination to openly interact with others again, and the shocking obstacles that come from a believably heartless section of surrounding people, the non-disabled. But it balances this by revealing the continuing love of Carl’s family, and the dedicated members of disability services.
Aglaée (pictured) unashamedly tackles the topic of shallow teenage schoolyard bullying mixed with the struggles of physical disability by detailing the aftermath of a young girl, Aglaée, who rejects an offer for a date from 15-year-old Benoit, who only asked her out because he lost a schoolyard bet. The strong-willed nature of Aglaée to cast aside the humiliation and remain compassionate reveals that we have lessons to learn from people like Aglaée, perhaps more than anyone else.
The Other Film Festival does not only exhibit films, it also presents an interesting opportunity for filmmakers and the general public to engage in conversation about disability-related, film industry issues. The festival will conduct forums and presentations, led by experts, which will confront the issue of the media’s disability stereotyping, low-level availability of Closed Captions and Audio Description in Australia, as well as the discussion about the real and perceived sexual obstacles of people with disabilities.
The Other Film Festival runs from September 19-23 in Melbourne. For more information about the program and to purchase tickets, head here.