And the winners are…
Unbound. Jemima Hughes. UK. 2021. 2m 57s. Film Festival Premiere. In English with English captions. FF, DDD. Unbound is a lively and colourful three-minute abstract animation which presents the filmmaker’s feelings about being perceived as “wheelchair bound” and her positive experience of physically exciting activities such as dancing and zip wiring. It combines cut-out animation in hand-painted watercolour paper with digital effects, using colours, shapes and movement inspired by Kandinsky’s paintings to express emotion. The director’s voice-over, spoken on her electronic communication aid and subtitled, describes her experiences. Jazz-inspired music composed for the film reflects the motion and excitement of the activities.
Mind the Time. Ruairi Conaghan. UK (Northern Ireland). 2022. 59m. Film Festival Premiere. In English with English captions. FFF, DD. Twelve uniquely personal and potent memories from learning-disabled actors’ own life experience and supporting cast. An emotional, funny, mischievous, and joyful showcase of personalities and recollections. Exploring both the light and darkness we are all capable of seeing inside ourselves, dreaming big and capturing the magic of being on stage.
Here & Where. Floyd Konde. UK. 2022. 30m 46s. European Premiere. In English with English captions. FF, D. Here & Where is a dance documentary following Stopgap’s apprentice company Sg2 as they returned to the studio after the UK-wide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Capturing experiences of solitude, the loss felt through lockdown, and fluctuating emotions on emerging back into a studio for a final time, Here & Where is an introspective celebration of the four dancers achievements. Here & Where sensitively confronts themes of isolation, artistic identity and the lived experiences of Disabled dancers in a time of global instability. The documentary culminates in a dance film reimagining of the choreographic stage work ‘Here & Where’ by Maria Koliopoulou.
Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children. Barri Cohen. Canada. 2022.1hr 28m. UK Premiere. In English with English captions available. F. D. Filmmaker Barri Cohen leads part detective story, part social history in Unloved: Huronia’s Forgotten Children as she uncovers the truth about Alfie and Louis, her two long-dead half-brothers. They were institutionalized at the Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia in the 1950s, with one brother unceremoniously buried in secret in an unmarked grave as a small child. Their lives were cut short, but their story stands as a microcosm of the immense tragedy of the Western World’s 20th-century disastrous treatment of intellectually disabled children and youth. Through the interwoven narratives of a POV family story with critical institution survivors, a question preoccupies the film: how do we allow ourselves to dehumanize the most vulnerable people in our care?
Aimee Victoria. Chrystee Pharris. USA. 11m. 2021. In ASL with English captions. FFF, DD. In association with SuperFest. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aimee and Victoria, two deaf women of color, find their relationship tested. Separated on their anniversary, Aimee is shaken out of her self-imposed apathy as she demonstrates her love to Victoria.
Best Film in a Language Other than English
Changer: A Hand Telling. Howie Seago. USA. 67m. 2021. In ASL with English voice over and captions. FF, DDD. In association with SuperFest. Changer: A Hand Telling is an innovative Deaf-centric and Native-centric filmed performance with Deaf Native storytellers performing the Coast Salish myth of Changer in Native and artistic sign language, following mythic characters into a future transformed by tribes exercising sovereign treaty rights.
Best First Film
Collections of Queer Poets: One Inky Queer. Éloïse ‘Loulou’ Armary. UK. 2022. 20m 4s. Film Festival Premiere. In English. DDD. Through the voice of One Inky Queer, Collections of Queer Poets unveils the poetry scene in Brighton, a space for marginalised voices to share their truth in front of a like-minded audience. Discover how One Inky Queer started from writing poetry, isolated because of lockdown and being Disabled, to co-creating a new community focusing on Queer and trans poets that is accessible to Disabled people: Queer The Mic. This short documentary is an invitation for marginalized people to find their creative community.