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A highlight of DADAA’s summer program was The Other Film Festival WA which was presented as part of the 2021 Perth Festival. With a program of film screenings and artist spotlights driven by leading creatives with disability, The Other Film Festival represented the innovation and critical engagement with disability-politics that our creative sector needs.

Originally an Arts Access Victoria initiative, The Other Film Festival started in 2004, becoming a ground-breaking, disability-led and fully accessible film program elevating Deaf people and people with disability’s voice, stories and skills within the Australian screen industry. Huge thanks to Caroline Bowditch, CEO of Arts Access Victoria, and Fiona Tuomy for their guidance and support in bringing this concept to Western Australia.

Film Program Curator, Sarah Collins selected films from around the world which reflected complex and diverse understandings and experiences of disability. “Disability in mainstream film tends to have specific tropes and clichés which serve to “inspire” an audience and often win awards for able-bodied actors for their “bravery” in portraying a character whose entire life is usually defined by their disability. I have enjoyed finding films that 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 telling their own stories, both in front of and behind the camera.”

DADAA would like to thank the wonderfully talented artistic leaders: Sarah Houbolt, Anna Seymour, Matt Shilcock, Jenny Sealey, Gaelle Mellis, again Caroline Bowditch, Tony Sarre and Matt Fraser, for their inspirational presentations of practice, resilience, determination and above all, disability leadership.

Recordings of the artist spotlights will be made available on the DADAA website in the future.

The Other Film Festival WA was presented in association with Perth Festival with the support of Act Belong Commit Mentally Healthy WA campaign and Healthway.

images: (top) Still from Single, Blank Films Inc, 2020; (right) DADAA Board member Wendy Martin in conversation with Matt Fraser, Creative Director of the BBC series, Crip Tales, photo: Jacqueline Homer

DADAA respectfully acknowledges the Whadjuk and Yued people of the Noongar nation and the Southern Yamatji Peoples, the traditional owners of the lands upon which DADAA operates. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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