Started in 2004, by a group of learning-disabled filmmakers who’d nowhere to present their work, Oska Bright Film Festival has become the largest event of its kind in the world. This year it heads to Hove’s The Old Market with 98 compelling and extraordinary short films.
The festival is opening with a selection of works examining identity and what makes us unique, followed by the always popular Queer Freedom screening which explores the intersections of disability and queerness.
Movement and sound form an important part of self-expression, and Oska Bright’s Dance and Music strand is bursting with talent. It sees American Horror Story‘s Jamie Brewer form a friendship through a mutual love of Krump, photographs of performers bursting into life and couples travelling through a landscape as their emotions turn into dance.
The festival’s wonderful brand-new After Dark selection features some of the most unexplained, unexpected and experimental films around. With robust language, sexual themes and some violence, its subjects include a father passing down advice about women, somebody dancing in a fish-god costume as iconography depicts his frustrations, cheeky looks at what happens when the lights come on, colourful walks in the forest, positive transformation, a robbery gone wrong and an examination of mental health and educational apartheid in British society.
This year’s Portrait of the Artist series traces the different ways learning disabled artists work creatively. Alongside this The Co-creating Short Films sessions explore how learning disabled and non-learning disabled people can create films together. Filmmakers will share their experiences before each screening with a panel afterwards. Once again there will be a glittering awards evening, which will celebrate the very best of Oska Bright Film Festival, followed by a screening with all the winning films.
Animation is playing a big part this year, with films deploying different styles depicting everything from self-discovery to more literal journeys – like surreal depictions of a cat’s existence and reflections on life in Leeds, to a My Little Pony character uniting two sides of his personality or the harm plastic can do without us realising.
The Sci Fi: Alternative Worlds programme will take everyone on a wild ride to new worlds, where things are not what they seem. It’ll drop in on clean-up crew in a strange toxic wasteland, a young woman travelling through time and space, an introverted boy transported to another world and the use of technology to facilitate a new human connection and process old wounds. Oska Bright is presented by Carousel, an award-winning charity supporting learning disabled people in achieving their artistic ambitions and gaining recognition. Taking place every two years, the festival also tours with award-winning films and features, as well as running workshops and hosting seminars. It’s previously partnered with London Short Film Festival, Bristol Encounters, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Tate Modern, Unlimited Festival, Brighton Photo Biennial, HOUSE and Brighton Festival.
OSKA Bright Film Festival will be at Hove’s The Old Market on Weds 23 – Sat 26 Oct