Together! 2019 Disability Film Festival Full Programme

6-8 December 2019
The Old Town Hall Stratford Broadway London E15 4BQ

It’s finally time for our annual feast of Disability Film in the Victorian splendour of the Old Town Hall Stratford, where we create an accessible pop-up cinema complete with floor cushions for those who prefer them, free refreshments and relaxed screenings. Many of our films are premieres and go on to festivals worldwide; we also show the best of other international festivals. FREE. ALL WELCOME. NO NEED TO BOOK. Full venue details at the end. If you are unable to join us in person, the programme below contains links to online versions of films where these are available, so you can join in from home. Many thanks to Arts Council England, the Lottery Community Fund, Free@Last TV, Bectu and our other supporters who have made our Festival possible including the launch of our Kat Awards.

Click here to learn more about our ‘F’ and ‘D’ programme ratings.


FRIDAY 6 DECEMBER 2019 Doors open 6pm.

Artist, activist and filmmaker Katherine Araniello being interviewed for Justin Edgar’s The Social Model in 2018.

Sick Bitch Crip. When artist filmmaker Katherine Araniello died earlier this year, she left behind a body of unique artists’ films. Rude, sexy, surreal and always subversive, YouTube pioneer Araniello used absurdist humour to challenge views of her life as not being worth living, as well as commenting on a wide range of issues from a disability perspective. The evening includes introductions by collaborators, film critics and friends in addition to screenings. BSL interpreted. Click here to view the playlist of Katherine Araniello’s films created by Disability Arts Online Editor Colin Hambrook.


SATURDAY 7 DECEMBER 2019 Doors open 12noon.

Carousel Arts presents Oska Bright Film Festival1pm: OSKA BRIGHT FILM FESTIVAL 2019: Under the Sea. Screened in association with Carousel Arts, Under the Sea showcases the talents of filmmakers and actors with learning difficulties. With Shadowlight Artists’ Undersea Adventure (UK, 4:24); Matthew Eggert’s Balloons Ahoy (UK, 1:30); Beacon Films’ Ebb and Flow (UK, 6:57); Bus Stop Films’ Heartbreak and Beauty (Australia, 14:42); Figment Arts and Clarendon School’s Nick the Fish (2:33); Amy Ellison’s Sky and Sea (UK, 36s); and Ray Jacobs’ The Sea Reminds Me (UK, 10m).


How to Speak by Jemima Hughes is screening in Animate! on Saturday afternoon

2pm: ANIMATE! 

Paul & The Undersea Critters. Shane Howard. Wales. 2019. 14:21. London Premiere. Paul and the Undersea Critters is the debut live action/animated short film from writer/director/animator, Shane Howard. Shane has been supported by Welsh community arts charity, TAPE, to develop his animating and directing craft throughout the production and shooting of this short. Shane describes himself as an autistic director and also has a number of ongoing animated series on YouTube. English, no captions. DD

Stitch. Siobhan Smith. UK. 2019. 4m. Harry attends an interview which will decide if he can carry on receiving benefits that enable to him to live a sustainable life. Using real-life examples, Stitch highlights the need for change in the way sick and disabled people are treated in the UK. English, no captions. F D Screened in association with Little Wing

Carlotta’s Face. Valentin Riedl and Frederic Schuld. Germany. 2018. 5m. As a child, Carlotta didn’t expect the people around her to have faces. She even didn’t recognize her own face. This animated short shares her journey as she learns about her difference through isolation and cruelty until she later finds that art offers her a way to finally recognize herself. Available to watch free online at: https://vimeo.com/374351388 German with English captions. F D Screened in association with SuperFest Disability Film Festival Showcase.

IV (Four). John Martyn Ford and Zoe Norgrove.  UK. 2019. 6:24. Based on personal experiences, IV is a look at the daily issues faced by someone with OCD, techniques for coping and the ability to live an active life. A Business Disability Forum Student Film Competition Award Winner. Available to watch free online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=LM6kiY8uomk&feature=emb_logo English with English captions. FF DDD A Business Disability Forum Student Film Competition Award Winner. 

Technology for Talking. Jemima Hughes. UK. 2019. 5:27. A bright cut-out animation which introduces voice output communication aids and explains how and why some people talk using assistive technology. Using the electronic voice and perspective of its filmmaker, it challenges stereotypes about what non-speaking Disabled people can do and raises awareness of their contribution to society. English with English captions. Available to watch free online at: https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/how-to-speak-when-you-dont-have-a-voice/p07693kc?playlist=redefining-disability  FFF DDD

How I See. Catherine Colbourne. UK. 2019. 3:02. Premiere. Using sound and manipulated video, Catherine Colbourne shares the way she views the world. Available to watch free online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-PrY6VRIbY&feature=youtu.be No Dialogue. Audio-described with Visual Guide available. FFF DDD

The Penguin Who Couldn’t Swim. Tom Rourke. UK. 2018. 5:46. This animated short follows the story of a penguin who lives on a rocky island in the southern seas where she feels isolated from the rest of her colony. Available to watch free online at: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-penguin-who-couldnt-swim-2018-online No speech. DDD Screened in association with SuperFest Disability Film Festival Showcase.


2.45pm: Break.


One Piece of the Puzzle by Rene Lorraine and Jamie Harvey screens on Saturday afternoon in Short Docs 1

3pm: SHORT DOCS 1 

Stinky Chicken Dog 2. Jenni Funk. USA. 2018. 13m. New filmmaker Jenni Funk explores the complex and beautiful relationships between Disabled people and their animals. She uses a speech-generating device to interview a service dog owner and a companion pet owner and tell her own story of a tense relationship with her formerly abused and traumatized pet Chihuahua (the stinky chicken dog) who is frightened of her movements and her voice. English, with English captions and audio-description. FFF DDD Screened in association with SuperFest Disability Film Festival Showcase.

One Piece of the Puzzle. Rene Lorraine and Jamie ‘Jstar’ Harvey. UK. 2019. 10:40. Premiere. A ten-minute documentary challenging misconceptions about autism through observational documentary, interviews and archive footage of her seven-year-old brother Malaika.  English, no captions. FFF D

Ill, Actually. Zoe Hunter Gordon. UK. 2019. 12:05. Ill, actually is a short documentary exploring the challenges of being young and chronically ill in a carefully curated online culture. A real life “superhero”, a YouTuber and a camgirl explain why they choose to share — or hide — their chronic illnesses online. Online you can be anyone: why be ill? English, no captions. Available to watch free online at https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-ill-actually-2019-online FFF DDD

Forget-Me-Not. Sarah Smith. UK. 2019. 8m. With an insider look at the personal journey of an incurable cancer patient, Alaine Smith – her mother – one filmmaker aims to debunk the stigma around talking about incurable illness, demonstrating the support and understanding that can be gained by a single conversation. English. Available to watch free online at https://www.filmdegreeshow.co.uk/sarah-smith/ FFF D Screened in association with Little Wing

Love at Second Sight. Jo Streit Productions. USA. 2016. 23:24. European Premiere. Facially different David Roche and his lovely wife Marlena Blavin share their stories with a spellbound middle-school audience. As they explore themes of self-acceptance (David finds his inner beauty) and accepting others (Marlena moves from revulsion to friendship), the students’ reactions move from discomfort and stunned silence to laughter, delight and engagement. From their faces and feedback, it is clear that their perceptions have quickly shifted as they are encouraged to take that vital second look. English with English captions. FFF DD

Invalid Corps. Day Al-Mohamed. USA. 2018. 28m. In July 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early launches a surprise raid that takes him to the very gates of Washington DC. The city is in panic. Almost every able-bodied soldier from the Union has already been sent south for the siege of Petersburg, more than 100 miles away. The only defenders remaining are clerks, government officials, and the Invalid Corps. Made up of men injured in battle or by disease, these “hopeless cripples” must hold out for a desperate 24 hours until Union General Grant can send reinforcements. With Lincoln himself on the ramparts, they cannot afford to fail. English with English captions. DDD Screened in association with SuperFest Disability Film Festival Showcase.


Struck by Aurora Fearnley screens in Short Dramas 1 on Saturday afternoon.

4.30pm: SHORT DRAMAS 1

Struck. Aurora Fearnley.  UK. 2017. 14:00. On the sand dunes of her local beach a female jogger returns to the scene of a crime looking for closure. English with English captions and British Sign Language. FFF D

The Rehab. Youcef Bentis. Algeria. 2018. 29:14. After a car accident takes away his ability to walk, Karim finds himself in a pit of despair, causing him to fantasize about the life he once had versus his current reality. Through this piece, we follow his road to recovery and acceptance of this new reality. Arabic and English with English captions. D

Courage. Aamir Qureshi. Pakistan. 2019. 2:19. A short film challenging stereotypes to ask what makes someone truly courageous in perilous moments. Available to watch free online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUe3LW9EbNo No Dialogue. D

Mash. Tyro Heath. UK. 2019. 13m. A young girl finds freedom from her chaotic home life in her local East London scrapyard, where she hopes to find ways to make her work more accessible to her brother, in the little ways she knows how. English, no captions. FFF DDD Screened in association with Little Wing


5.30pm: Break.


The feature-length drama Happy Face is being screened at 6pm on Saturday 7 December 2019.

6pm: HAPPY FACE. Alexandre Franchi. Canada. 2018. 1:37:00. A teenaged boy pretends to have a facial injury in order to join a support group, in a misguided attempt to reconnect with his mother who is living with cancer. This drama  features people with facial differences playing fictionalised versions of themselves, including David Roche, who is the subject of Jo Streit’s Love at Second Sight (in Short Docs from 3pm), and who performed live at the original Together! 2012 Festival led by the UK Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) in East London. English, no captions. D.


SUNDAY 8 DECEMBER 2019 Doors open 12noon

Harri Asikainen’s 7:20 to London screens in Short Docs 2 on Sunday afternoon.

12pm: SHORT DOCS 2

7:20 to London (Part1). Harri Asikainen. Finland. 2019. 15:00. International Premiere. A Finnish cameraman wanted to visit London with his powered wheelchair. The journey to London started on 7 December at 7:20am from Jyväskylä, Finland and ended on 12 December at 3:35am. The film highlights the additional expense and constant delays faced by Disabled travellers. English, no captions. DDD

(Un)Moved. Dan Wood. UK. 2019. 6m. Isaac Harvey is a young filmmaker who doesn’t let barriers phase him. Isaac was born with limb-Pelvic Hypo Aplasia, meaning he has no arms and short legs. With a powered wheelchair to provide independence, the 23-year old doesn’t let impairment hold him back. English, no captions. D 

Nothing Is Impossible – Hari Budha Magar. Shanta Nepali. Nepal. 2019. 5m. International Premiere. After losing both legs fighting in Afghanistan, Hari Budha Magar is determined to defy the social stigmas in Nepal about what a Disabled person is meant to do, living an active public life and planning to be the first above-knee double-amputee to climb Everest. Available to watch free online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faXB64szfno F D Nepali with English captions.

Ask Us, Hear Us, Include Us! Young Ambassadors for Inclusion. Scotland. 2017. 8:13. The Young Ambassadors for Inclusion are pupils with diverse support needs, who are campaigning for everyone to be included, no one left out. They created a film which could allow their views to be heard and help school staff understand how to support pupils with additional support needs. English with English captions. Available to watch free online at https://vimeo.com/246434751 FFF DDD

Same Difference. Samuel Ash and William Horsefield. UK. 2019. 9:58. Two Deaf students work with Deaf children in Nepal and underline that a Deaf person can achieve anything they want. A Business Disability Forum Student Film Competition Award Winner.  English with English captions. Available to watch free online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L14siMqJHP0   DDD

World War II: Unheard Memories – Life in Wartime Britain. Angela Spielsinger. UK. 2014. 6:13. Deaf people tell their previously hidden stories about living in wartime Britain in their own language, British Sign Language. Fred Cuddeford from London remembers work ending early because of the air raids, Gloria Pullen from Bristol explains how her Deaf family were alerted to emergencies, and Bernard Hatton from Rochdale tells how he had to test his gas mask. British Sign Language with English captions. Available to watch free online at https://www.bslzone.co.uk/watch/world-war-ii-unheard-memories-life-wartime-britain/   FFF D Screened in association with BSL Zone

Dot’s Legacy. Cathy Heffernan. UK. 2018. 27:00. Nadia Nadarajah examines the life and legacy of Deaf poet, playwright and activist Dot Miles, who died in 1993. Featuring Paul Scott, John Wilson, Zoe McWhinney and David Sands. Available to watch free online at: https://www.bslzone.co.uk/watch/dots-legacy/ English and British Sign Language with English captions. FFF DDD Screened in association with BSL Zone


Deaf Funny returns with the latest episodes in Comedy Hour on Sunday afternoon.

2pm: COMEDY HOUR Deaf Funny 5 & 6. Charlie Swinbourne. UK. 2019. 2 x 27m. The ever-popular sketch comedy group find humour in the daily encounters of a Deaf person, from “being an inspiration” to “Deaf parties”. A light-hearted take on interactions with Deaf and hearing people which has universal appeal. English and British Sign Language with English captions. Available to watch free online at: https://www.bslzone.co.uk/watch/deaf-funny-programme-5/ and https://www.bslzone.co.uk/watch/deaf-funny-programme-6/ F DDD Screened in association with BSL Zone


A Walk in My Shoes screens in Dance on Sunday afternoon.

3pm: DANCE

Sanctuary. Martin Borden. Canada. 2019. 3:44. European Premiere. Sanctuary is a collaboration between dancers Harmanie Taylor and Rianne Svelnis with filmmaker Martin Borden. Created as a site-specific work on the historic train turntable at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver, Canada, the camera allows an intimate view of two bodies, one standing, one using a wheelchair, interacting in a busy, urban setting, incorporating sound layered from the surrounding environment. No Dialogue. F D

Self Portrait. Efrat Vaknin. Israel. 2019. 1:17. European Premiere. Self Portrait is a deeply intimate piece by Efrat Vaknin exploring dance, music and movement as well as the loss of said movement. Available to watch free online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggVV5qA73PA No Dialogue. FFF DDD

We are Here. Sima Gonsai. UK. 2018. 5:10. A short dance film that explores notions of identity where the search to belong unites you as one. “We are Here” is a pioneering new dance film that connects and contrasts two contemporary forms of ballet performed by Freefall Dance Company and Birmingham Royal Ballet principal dancers. No Dialogue. Available to watch free online at: https://vimeo.com/299437852  FF D

Coda. USA. 2019. Erika Davis March. 22m. A young dancer struggles with her bi-cultural identity when she meets a confident young Deaf drummer who stirs up old conflicted feelings about growing up hearing in a Deaf family. English and American Sign Language with English captions. FFF D Screened in association with Little Wing

Inclinations. Alice Sheppard and Danielle Peers. Canada. 2019. 7:00. Choreographed, directed and shot from disability perspectives, this dance-on-video short contrasts the playful connections when disability aesthetics, community and a ramp meet the institutional histories and discordant inclinations that can lurk just below the surface. With English audio-description. FF DDD Screened in association with SuperFest Disability Film Festival Showcase.

A Walk In My Shoes. Camphill Community Dingle with Zoe Ui Fhaolain Green. Ireland. 2018. 19:11. UK Premiere. This emotive dance film moves through sites and seasons as the performers dance together and alone, expressing each unique personality through movement and exploring friendship. Moving to newly arranged traditional Irish fiddle music and original improvisations on piano, the dancers playfully engage with each other and their environment. English, no captions. FF DD

Shelley Barry’s Here is being screened as a VR foyer installation on Saturday and Sunday.

VR FOYER INSTALLATION

Ms. Vertigo. Rona Soffer. Israel. 2019. 14:00. Through this piece Soffer explores her impairment through what she describes as a dance to “explore the space with my not stable body” and find both new boundaries and possibilities. Hebrew with English captions. FFF DDD

Here. Shelley Barry. South Africa. 2019. 2019. 7:00. A music and dance performance by Disabled artists from Johannesburg, celebrating their craft while reimagining their city as an inclusive and fantastical space. English with Sign Language Interpretations. FFF DDD


Almost by Teresa Garratty is screening in Short Dramas 2 on Sunday afternoon.

4pm: SHORT DRAMAS 2

Almost. Teresa Garratty. UK. 2019. 5:09. A chance encounter between two Deaf girls sparks an unspoken connection. Everything seems so effortless, so perfect… Almost. English and British Sign Language with English captions. FFF DDD

Reverberations. Samuel Dore. UK. 2018. 27:17. Sci-fi drama. In 2167, a fascist Government uses advances in gene therapy to wipe out Deafness and create a “perfect” society. A young Deaf time traveller is sent back to 2018 to find the inventor of the cure and change her mind before it’s too late.  Available to watch free online at: https://www.bslzone.co.uk/watch/reverberations/ British Sign Language with English captions. F DDD Screened in association with BSL Zone

Paparazza. Aurora Fearnley. UK. 2019. 16:45. Camilla, a young photographer, competes in the male-dominated London paparazzi after her portrait studio closes. Although desperate to find the money to pay for her sister’s recovery from anorexia, Camilla discovers that the pictures she now takes have a direct correlation with her sister’s eating disorder. English with English captions. FFF DDD

Gaslit. Naomi Chainey. Australia. 2018. 9m. A young Disabled woman fights to hold on to her identity in the face of the world’s assumptions, and strives for independence from her parents who doubt her ability to become a mother. English with English captions and audio-description. F D Screened in association with SuperFest Disability Film Festival Showcase.


5.30pm: Break.


Rosie Baldwin’s Delta 7even is being screened on Sunday night in the 6pm programme.

6pm: The Festival plays out with a musical theme.

Potters Go Underground. Sam Oldknow. England. 2018. 6:56. A documentary on the local rock and metal music scenes in Stoke-on-Trent featuring interviews with the booking team at the Sugar Mill and local music promoter Robert Sean Hunt. The aim was to find out whether the music scene is alive or dead on a local level.  Is rock and metal in need of a new stimulant? English, no captions. Available to watch free online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6n_rhclXc0&feature=youtu.be DD 

Delta 7even. Rosie Baldwin. UK. 2019. 45m. London Premiere. A post-punk band made up of adults with learning difficulties discover their resilience, united strength and the power of creativity following the heart-breaking suicide of one of their band members. English with English captions. FF D

Pause. Iona Morrison. UK. 2019. 20:37. Premiere. Joe, a young musician from Glasgow, is extremely passionate about a band he has set up with two of his best friends from college – David and Michael. Being the drummer of the band, Joe is constantly exposed to loud noises but the adrenalin of performing distracts him from the pain that this is causing him. English with English captions and British Sign Language.  FF D

F R E E. Rachel Flowers and Lorenzo DeStefano. US. 2019. 5:38. Rachel Flowers’ beautiful new composition and entry for the NPR 2019 Tiny Desk Contest. The song can be found on her latest album “Going Somewhere”. Available to watch free online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_srl8d7fdvY&feature=youtu.be  English with English captions. FFF DDD


The programme has been curated by Dr Ju Gosling FRSA and edited by Robert Lawley.


Old Town Hall, 29 The Broadway, Stratford, London E15 4BQ. 020 3373 7033 /07791 291 685. Nearest tube, overground and DLR stations: Stratford (fully accessible). Bus routes include 25, 69, 86, D8, 104, 108, 158, 238, 241, 257, 262, 276, 308, 425, 473, N8, N86, 010, A9, 741 & UL1. Blue Badge holders can prebook parking; others are advised to use the (old) Stratford shopping centre carpark and cross straight through the centre (the Old Town Hall is opposite the far entrance). Click here for further details and images.