Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Oska Bright Film Festival - Interview with Sarah Watson

Oska Bright is a film festival in Brighton that promotes films made by people with learning disabilities.  It has been going for nearly a decade and is the only festival of it's type.  I love the idea and can't wait to see the films so I got in touch and asked a few questions.

This is the response I got from Sarah Watson (OB committee member and Carousel chair)

  • What is the mission statement of the festival in your own words?

Oska Bright is a film festival managed by people with a learning disability, showing films to anyone and everyone. Oska Bright is a festival, spread the love about Oska Bright, all you need is love! We want to spread great films made by people with a learning disability. We celebrate learning disability culture, we promote it and make sure people take it seriously as good quality art work. We work hard to connect with people who have learning disabilities and give them the chance to show their films.

  • What was the genesis of Carousel?

Carousel is an award winning learning disability led arts organisation. Founded in 1982 Carousel works to promote the active involvement of people with a learning disability in the arts, teaching new artistic skills and developing existing talents. In 2000, Junk TV, a youth and community film production company, and Carousel, a learning disabled arts charity began working together to support learning disabled people to make their own films. The films that were made were animated films and were very colourful and fun to watch.
By 2003 quite a few films had been made but it was very difficult to find any cinemas or film festivals to show the films to people. After speaking to Screen South, Arts Council England and a number of local production companies, Carousel and Junk TV decided to organise a small scale event to show the new films.They supported a group of learning disabled artists and film makers to set up the Oska Bright Festival steering committee – that’s us!

  • How does the committee source the films from around the world?

We do something called On The Road. The year after the festival we tour the films around the country and we hold Q&A sessions for film makers. We hope that by doing this we can inspire people to make films and we can be around to answer any questions and give them some help. We go to meetings, meet people and tell them about our work. I’ve been to meetings at places like the ICO and the British Council, it’s very exciting. We try to use things like twitter and facebook to update people about our work and last year we launched our new website Oska Bright The Digital Space, which was funded by the Space and the Arts Council. We hope this will help us connect with a new audience.
Plus, we are the only film festival who show films made by people with a learning disability.

  • Is there a political agenda behind the festival or is it simply about expression?

We want learning disability films to be taken seriously and for them to be reviewed and treated the same as any other short film. I’ve always been interested in film and I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was little. People with learning disabilities can make films. People don’t really understand what we can do.

  • How can people get involved this year?

Come to our festival and see what it’s about.  It will open your eyes and it will make you rethink what you thought about people with a disability.

More information can be found here

The festival runs from 17th-19th of November and tickets cost £12 for a full pass and £3 a screening.  They can can be found here

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