“Art is loyal to me, and I’m loyal to art ” says Eleana Button. Working with arts charity Carousel on a film commission for BBC Ideas exploring the concept of invisibility, Eleana is determined to make art that breaks down barriers. “You satisfy your own personal critic when you make something you’re happy with.” Her ambition is to have the film screened at Oska Bright Film Festival next year; an ambition shared and realised by hundreds of learning disabled film makers worldwide.
Oska Bright Film Festival is the major international biennial event for learning disability film. Since it began in 2004, the Festival has supported and celebrated film-makers from 18 countries and screened over 3,000 short films to 75,000 people. The next Festival, in autumn 2019, is now open for submissions.
Oska Bright, as with all Carousel’s work, is programmed, managed and presented by a team of learning disabled people.
Matthew Hellett, Oska Bright head programmer says: “We’re looking for new, bold voices from the learning disabled community; films that show imagination and creative vision. Last year I introduced an LGBTQ+ strand to the Festival and I’m really keen to develop that. ”
With its mix of animation, live action and documentary shorts, plus video art, feature films, debate and industry marketplace, Oska Bright is a key date in the film festival calendar.
“Oska Bright is especially significant in giving a genuine platform for learning-disabled filmmakers to showcase their work, and with a global reach” says Disability Arts International’s Kate Lovell. “Learning disabled voices are perhaps most at risk of being manipulated by non-disabled film-makers with a medical model agenda. Ensuring the festival is entirely curated by a learning disabled artistic team is crucial to its authenticity and success.”
The closing date for entries is 30 March 2019, so there is time get filming and, like Eleana Button, be in with a chance of being screened at Oska Bright next year. You can find out more and enter a film through the website:
Oska Bright Film Festival 2017 Festival had 250 submissions from eleven countries, and an audience of over 3,500 people. Awards were made in eight categories by key representatives from the film industry. The 2019 autumn dates and venue are not yet confirmed. Oska Bright Film Festival is funded by the BFI and Arts Council England. In non-festival years Oska Bright tours films nationally and internationally, and provides diversity and access training to cinemas and arts organisations.
Eleana Button’s film “Invisible Me” produced by Carousel for BBC Ideas, will be released online later this year.
Carousel is a learning disability-led arts charity working in film, music, radio, visual and digital art. Charity no 297201, company no 2137755. [www.carousel.org.uk]