Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Other Film Festival Brings Disability To The Screen

Joint Media Release with:

  • Simon Crean MP
    Minister for Regional Australia Regional Development and Local Government
    Minister for the Arts

    Senator Jan McLucas
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
    Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers

Arts Minister, Simon Crean and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas today announced combined funding of $186,700 towards Melbourne’s Other Film Festival for the creation of cinema by and about people with a disability.

Mr Crean said the funding to Arts Access Victoria for the festival would support both film makers and film goers with disability.

“The Other Film Festival is the only festival in Australia that is dedicated to screening films that explore the experience of living with disability,” Mr Crean said.

“Since its inception in 2004, the biennial festival has been joining the dots between the arts and disabilities, promoting and sharing the work of filmmakers living with a disability and advocating for improved access to cinemas for people with mobility and sensory impairments.

“This festival provides the opportunity for people with disability to fully enjoy the experience of going to see a film and a platform for people with disability to showcase their work and have their stories heard.”

Speaking today at Arts Access Victoria in Melbourne, Senator McLucas said the five-day film festival showcases the talent of those involved in the production of the films and provides a window into the lived experiences of disability.

“The festival is a statement about the importance of inclusion for people with disability in the cultural life of the community,” Senator McLucas said.

“This funding will assist Arts Access Victoria to screen around 36 films throughout the duration of the festival.

“All films shown will be captioned and audio described, and all associated events will be Auslan interpreted, so everyone can enjoy the films, and take part in forums and question and answer sessions with directors, actors and international guests.

“For too long, people with disability have felt shut out. Too often, we see the talents and possibilities of people with disability and their carers remain unrealised. This is why we put in the effort to develop the National Disability Strategy with the strong involvement of people with disability.”

Mr Crean said the funding will support a number of festival initiatives that strongly align with the National Arts and Disability Strategy to support full participation by people with disability in the film, television and broadcast industry.

These initiatives include:

  • The Associate Directors mentoring program which will provide an opportunity for four arts practitioners with disability to gain professional development in the film industry as Associate Directors of the festival.
  • Workshops by international advocates of artists with a disability currently working in the film industry.
  • A partnership with Federation Square to offer emerging filmmakers with disability the opportunity to make a film about the accessibility challenges of Federation Square.
  • Moving the festival to Arts House at North Melbourne Town Hall to double audience capacity to 400 per screening and allowing additional screenings and workshops.
  • Improving accessibility for festival patrons by providing Auslan interpretation for all sessions, captioning for all films, access facilitators to assist patrons with seating and an assisted listening loop for all screenings.
  • A communication and marketing strategy to spread the word about the festival and further raise the profile of people with disability, their families and carers.

This year more than 180 filmmakers from 24 countries have entered films into the five-day festival. Their films represent a wide range of disabilities in stories that challenge assumptions about love, loss, personal identity and career.

“There are important stories to be told, and the Australian Government is proud to be a partner in bringing these stories to audiences in Melbourne and across Australia,” Mr Crean said.

“All Australians should have the opportunity to access and participate in the cultural life of our nation, regardless of ability.”

The funding complements additional Australian Government funding of $15,000 from Screen Australia and support from the City of Melbourne, Film Victoria, Arts Access Victoria, Perpetual Trustees, Ian Potter Foundation, Red Bee Media, Caramel Creative and the US Consulate.

The Other Film Festival runs 19 to 23 September 2012. For more information, visit