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From Eyeborg, the world’s first prosthetic eye-camera demo to director Niko von Glasow’s Nobody’s Perfect in which he struggles to convince 11 other fellow-Thalidomide affected people, that posing naked for a calendar would be a good idea, The Other Film Festival (August 25 – 29, Melbourne Museum) offers an intriguing program of unique films and seminars with local and international guests, by, with and about people with a disability.

Presented by Arts Access Victoria in association with Melbourne Museum, this compelling biennial event will screen more than 35 films from Australia, Russia, Poland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, South Korea, UK and USA. There’s also a range of topical and informative seminars and interactive panel discussions - plus the buzz of The Other Club, at Fitzroy’s Charcoal Lane, where from 10pm nightly.

Guests this year include Canadian director and cinematographer Rob Spence, who, following the loss of an eye in a teenage shooting accident, has developed the world’s first prosthetic eye-camera; US stand-up Deaf comedian CJ Jones and filmmaker Hilari Scarl who will present their documentary See What I’m Saying, Australian actors with a disability and filmmaker Genevieve Clay (Be My Brother) who will participate in a panel discussion on the challenges facing actors with a disability, plus festival patron Adam Elliot, actor/director Clayton Jacobson, actor Ross Onley-Zerkel and others.

2010 Festival program highlights include:
Forum: EYEBORG (Canada)
Join Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence as he introduces you to the future of filming with Eyeborg – a miniature camera and transmitter that has been fitted into his prosthetic eye. Winner of TIME Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of 2009, Rob will present the World Premiere demonstration of the Eyeborg camera in operation!

Clayton Jacobson (Kenny), Ross Onley-Zerkel and the cast of I LOVE U, which will screen as part of the Festival, explore the processes and surprising outcomes when hearing directors choose to cast and direct Deaf actors.

If you are a person with a disability but don’t know how to get started as an actor, then this is the workshop for you! Join actors and directors from films within the Festival who will offer a hands-on introduction to acting for film and television.

NOBODY’S PERFECT (Germany) 84 Minutes
Director Niko von Glasow struggles to convince 11 other fellow-Thalidomide affected people, that posing naked for a calendar would be a good idea, in this intelligent, darkly humorous and provocatively incorrect documentary.

THE SUNSHINE BOY (Iceland) 104 Minutes
Narrated by Kate Winslet with a soundtrack by Sigur Ros and Björk, this poignant documentary portrays a mother’s quest to understand the complex condition affecting her son. Her epic-journey takes her to other countries to meet with parents and leading medical experts. However, her question is always the same…How can I break down the barrier of autism that separates my son from the world?

Follow the journey of the former four members of Beethoven’s Nightmare, the world’s only deaf rock band, which include, CJ a famous comedian still determined to perform to hearing audiences and Robert a brilliant actor and mime artist, battling homelessness. To be presented by Festival guests, director Hilari Scarl and comedian CJ.

BE MY BROTHER (Australia) 7 Minutes
A young man’s charm and charisma enchants a stranger at a bus stop. But someone else’s heart is at stake.

ANNA’S SILENT STRUGGLE (Netherlands) 56 Minutes
Concentration camps are characterized as places of horrible sounds – screaming, shooting and the cries of torture. For the Deaf, the terror was silent. As the Nazis methodically killed people with disabilities, Anna van Dam survived Auschwitz on her wits and her ability to lip-read.

ZIG ZAG LOVE (UK) 59 Minutes
Acclaimed director Gillies MacKinnon brings us the story of Peter and Elliot, two teenagers obsessed with sex. But unlike most teens, they’re long-term hospital patients. They make a pact to lose their virginity, but when Elliot suddenly dies, Peter escapes from hospital with a new friend, terrified that he’ll die before he knows what sex is like.

SHINING STARS (Israel) 61 Minutes
On 4 March, 1996, a young woman named Maytal was seriously wounded in a suicide attack in Tel Aviv. Nine years later she has separated from her husband and commenced fertility treatments to have a baby as a single parent. A searing portrait of a powerful but damaged person, grappling her way back to intimacy, empathy and love.

A girl in love, a pop star in peril and a gang of unruly misfits on the run. The ride doesn’t stop before everyone gets what they want and someone gets what he deserves. Not quite your average road movie.

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE MY MOTHER (Poland) 30 Minutes
The tight bonds between Julia and her mother Monika threaten to snap or strangle them both when Julia makes a film about her mother. Monika is afraid to see herself as a woman who has lost her legs. Instead, she sees a woman who is about to lose a daughter.

Published August 12, 2010

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