Artistic Director Dr Ju Gosling writes: The 2021 Together! Disability Film Festival (3-5 December) was our tenth annual international Film Festival and our second to be delivered entirely online. Click here to view the programme, including links to films where these are available free online, and click here to see who won the 2021 Kat Awards.
The Together! Disability Film Festivals screen films by Deaf/Disabled filmmakers and films with a strong central Deaf/Disabled character. Most of the films we screen will have been completed in the last 12-18 months, and many are premieres. Our priority is to provide a platform for strong storytelling, highlighting the lived experiences of Deaf/Disabled people from diverse backgrounds, and the talents of community, emerging and mid-career Deaf/Disabled filmmakers.
ON DEMAND VIEWING In 2021, all of the day’s Festival programmes were available ‘on demand’, to see if this extends the Festival’s audiences by better meeting their needs than streaming live to YouTube as we did in 2020. Some films were available to view for that day only, as part of the longer programme for which we had selected them. Other films that we had selected are already available online, so now the Festival is over, audiences can click through to find them individually via our daily programmes. (Traditionally, we have published the day’s programme on our website each day of the Festival with links embedded to online versions of the films being screened if these are available. Our approach has enabled audiences to access the Festival beyond East London and Disability History Month, as well as increasing the opportunities and exposure for filmmakers.)
TIME-TABLED LIVE AUDIO-DESCRIPTION We offer our live audio-description service via Zoom, following a timed programme.
WEEKEND LUNCHTIME DISCUSSIONS Following the success of our traditional Saturday lunchtime events and of our 2020 live panels last year, in 2021 we hosted lunchtime discussions for filmmakers and anyone else who was interested on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December from 1-2pm on Zoom. (Or breakfast, tea or midnight supper discussions depending on where participants lived. We are just sorry we cannot serve you our traditional free refreshments.) Both events had British Sign Language interpretation and live captions and are now available to view from the main 2021 programme page.
RELAX AND ENJOY We made the daily programmes available between midday and midnight GMT on each day of the Festival, to extend access further. Viewing was via our website, embedded from Vimeo and YouTube. Traditionally we offer a range of seating including floor cushions, and we encourage you to sit back and relax as you enjoy our films.
MORE ABOUT OUR FESTIVAL Many of our films are world or international premieres, and go on to festivals worldwide. We also collaborate to cross-programme films with festivals including Oska Bright, SuperFest, Kynnskino and Little Wing and with BSL Zone, although opportunities for this have been limited since the pandemic. Filmmakers do not need to identify as disabled themselves if Disabled people or Disability are the subject of the film; Deaf/Disabled filmmakers can submit work on any subject. We use our own ‘D’ rating system – one D each for a Deaf/Disabled (self-defined) person generating the film’s content, taking overall lead in making the film, and being the focus or star(s) of the film, working with or without support.
AWARDS We give Kat Awards for Best First Film, Best Animation, Best Dance Film, Best Drama, Best Documentary, Best Film in a Language other than English, Best Accessible Film and Lifetime Achievement. These are named in honour of the late artist and filmmaker Katherine Araniello.
Click here to view the Together! 2021 Disability Film Festival programme.
Click here to return to the Together! 2021 Disability History Month Festival programme
Programme supported by Film Hub London, managed by Film London. Proud to be a partner of the BFI Film Audience Network, funded by the National Lottery. www.filmlondon.org.uk/filmhub