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Oska Bright Film Festival launches with over 100 short films, new digital commission and BAFTA collaboration

  • Date: 23 November 2011
  • Area: South East
man playing guitar

Modern Life still, Oska Bright, 2011. Credit: Still courtesy of Oska Bright

The world’s biggest celebration of film and digital media made by people with learning disabilities started yesterday in Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange. 

From  Tuesday 22 November to Thursday 24 November, Oska Bright International Short Film and Digital Media Festival offers screenings of over a hundred short films from six countries, plus master classes, Q&A sessions, and a star-studded finale award ceremony.

Oska Bright is planned and managed by a team of people with learning disabilities and is supported by Arts Council England regularly funded organisation Carousel, the leading learning disability arts charity, and community film company Junk TV.

Now in its fifth year, the festival and its organisers continue to be passionate about the role film can play in expressing their artistic abilities.

One festival highlight is a joint BAFTA and Oska Bright event on Wednesday 23 November, screening two short films from acclaimed producer Justin Edgar (Special People, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll). Afterwards, he and actor David Proud will join a panel discussion and Q&A looking at how to build an audience for disabled filmmakers' work.

This year, Oska Bright is launching a new digital media installation called Digital Me, which has been supported with a £37,200 Arts Council England Grants for the arts award. The commission is piece of art made by five artists from the Oska Bright Committee. Digital Me features 200 children, young people, adults and older people with a learning disability from across Brighton and Hove.

Digital Me will be projected on the outside of the Unitarian Church in New Road, Brighton during the festival from 6pm until 10pm and will be part of a surround-sound installation piece inside the Corn Exchange while the Festival is open.

Screenings will include films by young people (under 25-years-old), films in a foreign language, plus films from all over the UK and from Australia, Canada, Iran, Israel and the Czech Republic. Over 164 films were entered for this year’s festival.

Carousel will become an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation from 2012 to 2015.

Filmmaker and Oska Bright committee member Matthew Hellett says, ‘Over the years we have grown as a festival and the quality of work that we show has grown too. We encourage people with a learning disability to take creative risks and have positive influences over others.’

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England, says, ‘The wonderful team behind Oska Bright have done it again. An excellent programme of film and moving image that engages a wider audience and the talents of learning disabled artists.’

For more information about this year’s Oska Bright Film Festival, please see www.oskabright.co.uk. For more information about our open access Grants for the arts scheme, see http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/grants-arts/.