For Becky Bruzas and Jason Eade, selecting films to include in the Oska Bright Film Festival brings joy and pain in equal measure. Oska Bright is the world’s first and only festival of short films made by people with learning disabilities. It is produced, managed and presented by a learning disabled team.
2013 is the sixth edition of this biennial festival and looks set to be the biggest and most extraordinary yet with more entries than ever before from more countries. The decision making process for the team can be a fraught process.
Becky said: “We have long and often rather lively discussions about the content, production values and audience appeal of the submitted films. The festival runs for three days with different categories of films, screened in timed sessions. This year we had several films with adult content, so we have put these into an evening slot.”
One such is Time Slip, made by The Oyster Project in Lewes, East Sussex. Scriptwriter Suchi Chatterjee says: “We wanted to find out what it was liked for disabled people, especially those with learning disabilities in the early part of the 20th century. The more we learned, the more we wanted to know. Some of the images and language used about disabled people during this time really upset us, but we got a lot out of it, me especially as I had to write the script which wasn’t easy because of the awful language used to describe disabled people.”
“We also have films that make us laugh, films about people and spooky films” adds Jason. “It is important that people can choose the sort of films they want to see.”
Oska Bright is not just about getting the work of these often overlooked artists into the public eye. It promotes a completely inclusive approach to the arts. There are opportunities for networking, for seeing the latest digital art and for participation. The “Oskas” are made by Andy Kee, who is a tireless advocate for artists and makers with learning disabilities. “The festival gives people with learning disabilities a chance to show what is important in their lives – their hopes and their fears.”
The Festival culminates in an awards ceremony with winners announced on the spot by guests from the film industry, parliament and the arts.
Oska Bright celebrates the artistic achievements of people with learning disabilities and proudly demonstrates the independence and creativity of this community. Now, perhaps more than ever, this Festival is of value to society – bringing people in, from ‘out there.’
Oska Bright Film Festival
Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange, Church Street, Brighton
Sunday 17 November to Tuesday 19 November
Tickets £12 festival pass or £3 per screening session
See www.oskabright.co.uk for full schedule and venue information