Twisted tropes

A still from This is Blank Films’ Single, screening as part of The Other Film Festival at DADAA this weekend.

PERTH FESTIVAL events put on hold during WA’s quick-fire Covid shutdown are back this week, including The Other Film Festival WA which showcases films created by and about people with disabilities.

The festival will be screening this weekend (Saturday Feb 20 and Sunday Feb 21) at 1.30, 4.30 and 6.30pm at disability arts organisation DADAA in the old boys school on Adelaide Street, Fremantle. 

Freo resident Sam Kerr’s film Accept the Road Ahead will be featured, along with the BBC’s CripTales; monologues  written, performed and directed by people with disabilities.

Inclusive

DADAA director of art services Ricky Arnold said the festival was created “because it was found that films were not very inclusive and were not telling stories about people with disabilities.

“The festival showcases excellence and overcomes preconceptions of what kind of content people with disabilities can make,” Mr Arnold said.

He said the festival had already made an impact on the screen industry, which had worked to become more inclusive and provide opportunities for people with disabilities.

Festival curator Sarah Collins said she chose films which didn’t conform to the “usual tropes about disability in mainstream society,” but used it as a tool to inspire audiences.

“I have enjoyed finding films which subvert these tropes (if you subscribe to the idea the people with disability can do anything, how do you feel about them planning and carrying out a robbery?) and focus on people with disability telling their own stories, both in front of and behind the camera,” she said.

The screenings are structured into age groups, and Ms Collins said she made this decision so she could include an 18 plus category which “looks at things that aren’t usually in the conversation around disability, so things like sexuality, dating, sex and reproductive rights.

“There is often this feeling that people with disability need to be protected and looked after but really you have to let people out there live their lives and make their mistakes,” she said.

Ms Collins said the festival showed “people living messy, loud lives which you don’t often see portrayed in a disability context.”

Tickets for The Other Film Festival can be found on the Perth Festival website.

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