Oska Bright Film Festival is back celebrating its 11th year, showcasing bold, brilliant and boundary-breaking stories from learning disabled filmmakers from across the globe. From March 11-17, Brighton celebrates all that’s best in disability filmmaking with satellite screenings being confirmed across the UK too, including Manchester, Glasgow, Oxford and Birmingham. With less than 5% of disabled people working in the UK film industry, Oska Bright Film Festival is driven to make change happen.
The first films that fantastically represent the 14 strands, genres, style and energy of the festival have also been announced.
BFI London Film Festival favourite This is Going to be Big is this year’s Opening Night Gala on March 11th. Thomas Charles Hyland’s humorous and heart-warming coming-of-age story follows a school of teenagers living with disabilities as they share their dreams, desires and confront their personal challenges, as they prepare for their high school musical where they will perform John Farnham’s hit ‘You’re the Voice’.
This year’s Closing Night coincidently falls on St Patrick’s Day with Irish ceilidh. The festival’s Documentary Strand comes to the fore with nine short films, including three from Reel Ireland (Blue Teapot Strand) with Enquire Within, Prophecy and My Light Will Blind You. Sandstone and Concrete, Down Home, Twin Link, Time and Space, Skate Spectrum and Angel Meadow: The Forgotten Genesis make up the rest.
Nicholas Pinnock (The Book of Clarence, For Life) stars in ASA (Family Values Strand), which will be celebrating its World Premiere. Asa (newcomer André Tamakloet) is struggling with the loss of his mum and his ability to articulate those feelings, instead finding solace in his toy robots, while his sister Rachel (Tillie Amartey) does much the same with old videos. Their father John (Pinnock) becomes increasingly frustrated with his inability to communicate with either of them. One day, Asa spots a delivery robot trundling past their house and his obsession with robots leads him in pursuit. John and Rachel begin a panicked search to find him, and more importantly, find a way to reconnect.
Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace, The Girl with all the Gifts) stars alongside Bethany Asher (The Undateables) in chilling drama-short The Cunning (Wild Women Strand) from director Alexandra Maher. It’s 1724. A mother and daughter are accused of witchcraft. Together, they hatch an ambitious plan for escape. The tiniest mistake, however, will result in certain death.
Unscarfed (Entbandung) (Animation Strand), is director Anita Bruneburg’s animation about three humans who serve a giantess in a giant-ruled land. They try to hide their true feelings about her from her and they know that if that blue scarf around their necks would ever be removed it would mean getting closer to her – in the worst possible way.
The Holiday Maker (Animation), from Harry G. Mead, follows a young woman named Emily. She can’t financially afford to go on her dream holiday and decides to build a miniature model wonderland of her desired destinations. As Emily constructs her holiday in her kitchen using her model making talents, will her miniature creations fully emulate the real world locations she is unable to travel to?
Dead Silent (Love Won’t Tear Us Apart Strand) see’s 29 year-old Liam blind-sided when, out of nowhere, his best mate Jack commits suicide. But you’ve gotta push on. Suck it up. Stay strong. Yeah, never mind that it feels like you’re drowning on the inside and your nice, stable life has never felt so dark…Nah. Liam’s fine.
A Tale of Swords and Smoke (Other Worlds) is a short, fantasy adventure film. The film follows two young adventurers, who find themselves on the trail of a fire-breathing dragon.
Dead Cat Film (Wild Women) sees a young woman become increasingly attached to the taxidermied corpse of her housemate’s cat. The dark comedy stars Will Gao (Heartstopper), Josie Charles and features the voice of Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Notting Hill). Dead Cat Film is produced by Rasp Films who were BAFTA-nominated in 2021 for their short Lucky Break.
The 14 strands for this year’s festival are:
- Best of the Fest
- Family Value
- Love Won’t Tear Us Apart
- Other Worlds
- Portrait of the Artist
- Queer Freedom
- Sound and Vision
- Blue Teapot
- Wild Women
- Young People/Emerging Talent
Nine awards will be given out across the 14 strands of this year’s festival including Best Story, Best Performance, Best Dance, Best Women in Film, Best Emerging Talent, Best Animation, Best International Feature, Audience Choice and the Strike Media Award for Best Moment.
Matthew Hellett, Head Programmer, Oska Bright Film Festival, says “We are so excited to be back with another edition. We’re packing more than ever into this edition: four feature films and over a hundred shorts from across the globe. The festival gets better and better each time, and we can’t wait to share these incredible stories with everyone. And the festival won’t just be in Brighton, we’ll be working with 7 venues across the UK to bring Oska Bright to more people. There’s something for everyone, with stories that will excite you, shock you, make you laugh, cry and think.”
Working internationally with industry partners and funded by the BFI, the OSKA Bright team produces the BAFTA and BIFA-qualifying Oska Bright Film Festival which promotes accessible screenings, runs training for venues and develops skills for aspiring filmmakers. Oska Bright Film Festival puts people with learning disabilities or autism where they should be, on the big screen.
Oska Bright Film Festival was founded in 2004 by a group of learning disabled filmmakers frustrated at having nowhere to show their work. Starting as a one day celebration of work, the festival has since grown hugely in size and impact.
In their last edition, they screened 99 films from 19 countries and welcomed 3,500 people through our doors. Audiences grow stronger each year, and we’re excited to see demand increase for these stories.
Oska Bright Film Festival tours the UK and abroad in non-festival years sharing award-winning films and features, running workshops and hosting seminars. We have previously partnered with Barnes Film Festival, Bristol Encounters Film Festival, Norwich Film Festival, Aesthetica, Tate Modern, Glasgow Short Film Festival and more.
Oska Bright Festival runs from March 11-March 17 2024
For more information on the festival head to www.oskabright.org