Welcome to the Together! 2019 Disability Film Festival

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

Together! 2012 Artistic Director Dr Ju Gosling writes: The Together! Disability Film Festival brings together the best of recent films by or about Disabled people from across the world. Some films have received public or crowd funding or commercial investment; others have been made with no budget at all. Many of the films are about Disability or feature a central Disabled character; others are simply good stories. Many films have been made by Disabled people; others have not. Most actors are also Disabled, but not all of them.

Each film will have been selected for different reasons, with particular consideration given to films that highlight the lived experience of people who are more usually invisible, or which offer different perspectives, or which are made by people who traditionally have lacked access to filmmaking. The films being screened vary in length from less than a minute to 1 hour, 37 minutes, with most being less than half an hour long. Some have no language, some are in English, and some are in languages from around the world, including British Sign Language. (All non-English and many English films are captioned, and a voice-over service is available on request for non-English films with speech.)

The filmmakers’ perspectives are numerous and diverse, reflecting the range of cultures and perspectives represented here, including most prominently but not only Disabled people’s ourselves. This is a carefully curated programme, but we present the films here for you to judge the content, cinematography and authenticity for yourselves. All of the films reflect and therefore have something to say about how we view Disability, including who can be an actor and who can be a filmmaker. Some films will make you laugh, some will make you think, some will make you do both, and many will give you new knowledge.

Our screenings are ‘relaxed’ and you are welcome to come and go as you please. Free refreshments are provided in the lobby, and we encourage you to network and discuss the films you have seen. Some films will be enjoyed by people with a wide range of abilities and interests, others will have a narrower appeal. Non-film fan family members and PAs will find plenty of holiday shopping opportunities, and everyone will find a wide range of food on sale in Stratford Centre and Westfield, both of which are just across the road from the Old Town Hall and offer step-free access throughout.

This year we are delighted to introduce the Kat Awards, named in honour of the late artist and filmmaker Katherine Araniello, and supported by Free@Last TV and Bectu to whom many thanks. The standard has never been higher than in this our eighth year, and selection of the prizewinners has been challenging. Often filmmakers are forgetting to create captions, though, while the availability of audio-description has improved very little from 2012. Many people including members of our own jury cannot fully access the films as a result. Students were the most likely to create inclusive versions of their films, including the provision of audio-description and BSL, challenging Lottery- and Licence fee-funded filmmakers to explain why these are absent when they are required under the Equality Act 2010.

The Festival would not be possible without the support of  our funders Arts Council England and the Lottery Community Fund. As with filmmaking, delivering a film festival is a collaborative effort, and is not possible without the hard work of many people. Many thanks also go to: our collaborating festivals Oska Bright, Little Wing, Kynnyskino; Business Disability Forum and SuperFest; St Bart’s Centre East Ham team; Old Town Hall Stratford team; Kolsuma Miah and Active Newham Volunteers; our own team members including Dawn Barber, Taylor Henville, Laura Horton, Sarah Hughes, Kathleen Jackson, Alison Marchant, Angus Mckenzie Davie, Julie Newman and Lesley Spalding; Programme Editor Robert Lawley; BSL interpreters Kris Burrow and Caroline Richardson; Tracey Jannaway; Disability Arts Online; and all of the filmmakers, agents, publicists, festival organisers, family members, funders and others responsible for providing the films being screened at the Together! 2019 Disability Film Festival.

You can find the full programme here, including links to online versions of the films where these are available. Welcome. Relax. Enjoy.