Going back to 2007, I meet an American friend named Kurt Adams and he invited me to go to an international disability film festival. That time, I was living in Berkeley, California for only one year and I thought I have never hear about an international disability film festival , organized by Liane Yasumoto, which happens every year in Berkeley (don’t know why, but I thought it was in 2 in 2 years). I went there and I saw few movies and I got very impressive with all stories.
In 2009, I contacted Kurt and asked him if I could be volunteer on that festival, because I felt in love with that project.
Today, June 18, 2011, I was working as a volunteer for them and I had a chance to see many good films.
1 – Flying Anne – Best of Festival Award, produced by Joost Seelen, directed by Catherine van Campen, where a 11 year-old Anne is as beautiful girl, the kind of girl you can’t take your eyes off. The longer you look, the more you see her ‘tics”, caused by Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome, which makes her body do things she doesn’t necessarily want, such as suddenly spinning around or licking everything. Anne sometimes finds it hard to cope with this , especially in school, where she’s afraid that others will bully or laugh at her. Anne therefore tries to keep her tics in check, although that isn’t easy. She prefers ‘flying’ through life, so you won’t notice anything. When flying, she’s at her best. (http://www.flyinganne.com).
2 – Loud, Proud and Passionate!, produced by Susan Sygall / Mobility International USA and directed by Dana Vion / Shy’s the limit creative services. Signing and singing with passion in Arabic, Spanish and English, 54 disabled women activists from 43 countries celebrate the achievements, pride and solidarity of women with disabilities around the world. These leaders are revolutionizing the status of women and girls worldwide. Filmed during MIUSA’s 5th International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) the Loud, Proud and Passinate! Music video release marks the beginning of MIUSA’s 30th Anniversary year long celebration. (http://miusa.org)
3 – Mothersbane, produced and directed by Jason Jakaitis. Mothersbane is a personal documentary that explores the filmmaker’s ambivalent relationship to his mother’s physical disabilities and chronicles his attempts to be at peace with her suffering and disfigurement. It is a mixed-media portrait, alternating between the present – in which his mother battles a staph infection and prepares for a major surgery – ad recollections of the filmmaker’s past. (www.mothersbane.com)
4 – Read Me Differently, directed and produced by Sarah Entine. A shock of recognition in social work school leads first-time filmmakers Sarah Entine to explore how undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD have impacted three generations in her family, starting with her own struggles. With surprising candor, vulnerability and even a touch of humor, Read Me Differently reveals the strain of misunderstood learning differences on family relationships. (http://readmedifferently.com)
5 – Voices from El-Sayed, produced by Belfims and directed by Oded Adomi Leshem. In the picturesque Israeli Negev desert lays the Bedouin village of El-Sayed. It has the largest percentage of deaf people in the world. Still, no hearing aids can be seen because in El-Sayed deafness is not a handicap. Through the generations a unique sign language has evolved making it the most popular language in this rere society that accepts deafness as natural as life itself. The village’s tranquility is interrupted by Salim’s decision to change his deaf son’s fate and make him a hearing person using the Cochlear Implant Operation. (http://wwwgo2films.com)
As I experience 2007, 2009 and now, I’m feeling that festival changed myself in a good way. It makes me feel how special all people with any type of disabilities are, with a lot of courage, beauty, capacity, value and example of life. Make me think about people’s regular life, when we complain about things and don’t give importance for real things. Make me think about my own life, because my family, specially my father who had to use wheelchair for few years and I came back 12 years ago with my memories. Make me feel how able to do things we are, no matter if we have disabilities or not.
The Film Screenings of the 2011 Award-Winners happened from Friday, June 17, 2011, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 18, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets $5-$20/day; sold ONLY at the door. “Meet the Makers” Reception and Awards Event: Sunday, June 19, 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
This event is free and open the public. The Marsh Arts Center (formerly The Gaia Arts Center) 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley, @ Shattuck Ave. One block from the downtown Berkeley BART station.
Venue is wheelchair accessible. Braille and large print screening schedules are available. All films will be audio described and are captioned. Film introductions and the reception and awards event will be ASL interpreted. Please refrain from wearing scented products. Visit: http://www.culturedisabilitytalent.org/superfest/index.html for complete list of awardees, film descriptions and screening schedule.