Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival
October 13 - 14, 2017
Alamo Drafthouse Village
2700 West Anderson Lane, Austin TX, 78757 (map)
Short Film Competition History
In 2007, CTD introduced the Student Film Competition to Cinema Touching Disability. In only a few years, it has become arguably the most popular element of the Festival! The vision behind the Competition is to encourage and empower emerging filmmakers to generate innovative film that addresses social, cultural, and personal perceptions about and experiences with disability. Volunteer judges select the first, second, and third place winners in both categories and a poll during the Festival determines the Audience Favorites. Winners enjoy cash and prizes, interviews with local media outlets, and a public screening of their film at the Festival. Right: CTD's Dennis Borel presents director Debbie Finley with the Grand Prize (Emerging Division) award for "Mind Over Polio," a documentary featuring Charlotte Ferris (seated).
The first year of the Competition, Josh Tate's Forgotten Lives, a highly acclaimed documentary about abuse of people with disabilities in state schools, took the Grand Prize (College Division).
Judge Chris Garcia, then a film critic for the Austin American-Statesman, called the film "truly eye opening and alarming...smartly and lucidly crafted." Left: Borel with the 2007 College division winners, Josh Tate, Sergio Carvajal, J. Anthony Hernandez, and others.
Zach Anner, a person with cerebral palsy featured in Forgotten Lives, went on to national stardom with his television show, The Real Zack Anner. Anner won a national competition for potential television show hosts, held by the Oprah Winfrey Network, but he started with Cinema Touching Disability!
Tate went on to win the 2015 Competition's Grand Prize (narrative division) with his short, Guest Room, also an official selection at that year's SXSW Film Festival.
During the following few year years, the Competition began to receive more and more excellent films, many from local filmmakers and organizations. Some of our early Competition winners include the Capital Area Boy Scouts (2007), ADAPT of Texas (2008), and several area high school students. We also attracted the attention of young filmmakers from outside of Texas, like Drew Goldsmith, whose shorts have appeared on the PBS documentary series POV (2008, 2011), and students from the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusettes (2010). Right: Borel presents the 2008 Grand Prize (High School division) plaque to Michael Espinoza for his short "The War to End All Wars."
As the years have passed, Cinema Touching Disability has evolved the Competition to better suit our vision. For example, initially, the Competition was aimed at high school and college students, but in 2009, we opened it up to filmmakers of all ages. That year, we began to receive films from outside the United States, including Grand Prize winner (Emerging division), Mon Ami Claude, from Canada. With the incorporation of an online submission system a few years later, we saw increased participation from entrants all over the world. Now, filmmakers from outside the US routinely place as finalists or winners in our Competition. Grand prize winners in 2013 and 2014 for example, came all the way from Australia and Turkey, respectively. At our most recent Festival, winning entries arrived from the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia. Left: Still from 2013 Grand Prize winner and Audience Favorite "Be My Brother," submitted by Genevieve Clay of Australia.
CTD is proud that our Short Film Competition not only has grown to allow us to share the best disability shorts in the world with our audience; it also draws international attention to Austin as a disability film hub.
View past years' results
- 2016 Competition Results
- 2015 Competition Results
- 2014 Competition Results
- 2013 Competition Results
- 2012 Competition Results
- 2011 Competition Results
- 2010 Competition Results
- 2009 Competition Results
- 2008 Competition Results
- 2007 Competition Results
The Cinema Touching Disability Short Film Competition is your opportunity to share your view of disability with our audience. We want interesting, imaginative, and creative representations of disability on film. All filmmakers, including professional, independent, amateur, secondary level school, and university students, are encouraged to submit their own representations of disability.
The 2017 film lineup: