For those who may not know, Oska Bright is a group that supports, teaches and makes short films and video projects for people with different forms of special needs and learning difficulties, with their film festival being one of the only few festivals that exclusively screen short films made by people with the same type of disabilities.
The organizers usually put on their festival once every couple of years in Brighton and this year they formed a partnership with The Outsiders Festival, as well as having screenings at the same time as Cine-City Brighton Film Festival. Since I attended the Oska Bright Film Festival, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to write about my experiences at the screenings, my favorite films shown and to give people more of an insight for those who may want to take part in 2013’s festival.
Tuesday 22nd November – Day One
As well as a number of workshops and short training courses that were offered to young people, the main event of the opening day was the festival’s launch, which opened with the premiere of Digital Me, an experimental short film that four of the people who work for Oska Bright made to reflect on the feelings that people with learning difficulties go through with everyday life. After this screening and a quick break, they screened the 2009 award winning short films.
My personal favorite was a short film called The End of the World According to the Ram which was about a woman chasing a sheep after it tries to eat everything. Blending animation with live actors in cutout faces of the characters, it was visually interesting and had a nice, simple story to show off the quirkiness of the way it was made. Followed by three foreign language films, the evening was a pretty good taste of what was to come.
Wednesday 23rd November – Day Two
The day started with a screening featuring work with young people (as well as my own short film), and the morning then showed films from schools and workshops from the UK, worked on by children and young people, many being stop-motion projects that effectively showed how the children visioned the characters and the areas. The afternoon and evening had a lot of variety in terms of quality and genres on offer. Celebrating it’s 5th birthday, the group had two screenings on this date and the day after it screened short films in its library, giving people the opportunity to see just how far the quality of the films have been screened.
Another great event were the short films from The Picture This Film Festival (a short film festival for people with a wide range of disabilities) and as much as I don’t like to say it, I thought that these were the best films shown for their creativity and overall quality. The day ended with a Q & A as well as presenting two films by Justin Edgar, who has previously made feature and short films.This was a nice change of pace to the festival from the high number of workshops and screenings throughout the three day run.
Thursday 24th November – Day Three
Continuing with the birthday celebrations, the morning started with more films from the festival library shown on the big screen and the rest of the day seemed to have the fewest screenings and events. However, the last event in the evening would make up for this. After an afternoon on short films as part of the “films from everywhere” screenings, the festival ended with an award ceremony took place that celebrated the best films in different categories.
It was interesting to see short films made by filmmakers with various learning difficulties and while it was not the best film festival I have ever attended, it was certainly a film festival where I recommend it to people who might be interested or to take a look at the future events and screenings.
For more information, please feel free to take a look at the official Oska Bright website for more details.