2016 Film Festival

November 4 & 5, 2016. Alamo Drafthouse Village.

We are delighted to report that this year's Festival was a huge success, bringing in big crowds, screening outstanding feature length and short films, and even exceeding our fundraising goals!

On a display table with brochures and a basket, a woman smiles broadly and leans over a sandy colored dog, who is looking to the right.

We returned to the Alamo Drafthouse Village November 4 & 5 for two nights of film celebrating the achievements of young people with disabilities and deafness.

Both nights, we were joined in the lobby by Service Dogs, Inc., a local organization that rescues, trains, and places service dogs. It was a treat to have Sherlock (left, with Megan Harris) and Buddy- and their human partners- help us welcome attendees to the Festival!

As always, we began our program both nights with winning entries from our international Short Film Competition, selected from 99 international submissions. 1st Place in the Documentary Division went to Beneath the Surface (right), which follows Daniel Ennett as he attempts to become the first scuba certified quadruple amputee- sharks and all! In a rare occurrence, the audience agreed with judges, bestowing the Audience Favorite award to Beneath the Surface as well!

Shot underwater, a trio of scuba divers swims above a reef formation. One of the divers adjusts the equipment of another, who has no arms or legs.Ghosts picked up 1st Place in the Non-documentary division the following night. Using motion captured 3D characters, based on historic photographs, this animated short film features a cast of disabled veterans from across the spectrum of WWI as they awake and prepare for the day ahead. The Non-documentary Audience Favorite award went to Silent, an anti-bullying student film that gained traction as an Internet hit this summer.

For the first time ever, we broadcasted the announcement of Short Film Competition results over Facebook Live, expanding Cinema Touching Disability's international presence. The broadcast allowed 391 viewers, including filmmakers, from all over the world to be a part of the Festival as it happened in real time and afterwards. You can still view the videos on Cinema Touching Disability's Facebook page.

two wheelchair basketball players at tip off in a dark arena, one facing toward the camera, the other with his back to the camera, each reaching for the ball in the air.The Rebound (2016) was our big feature on Friday night. The documentary follows three wheelchair basketball players on and off the court as they work with unwavering resolve towards athletic, educational, and career ambitions. The Rebound captivated our audience members, who were deeply moved by the struggles and triumphs of the team.

Following the film, Austin-based Paralympian Dave "Super Dave" Wear joined the Festival to answer audience questions about adaptive sports. In addition to winning nearly 150 medals in a huge array of events, Super Dave has helped to establish and develop many of Austin's adaptive athletic programs and teams. We loved hearing about our city's connection to the adaptive sports movement and Super Dave's adventures!

two women stand close together against a brick wall, smiling at the camera. One wears a hijabSaturday night, Deaf Jam (2011)* took top billing as our feature film. This documentary follows deaf teen Aneta Brodski’s bold journey into the spoken word slam scene. Along the way, Aneta, who is of Israeli descent, meets and begins collaborating with Tahani, a hearing Palestinian slam poet (right). Together, they craft a hearing/ deaf duet poem about the Israel-Palestine conflict, crashing through multiple barriers to the enthusiastic delight of audiences (including ours)!

We closed out the Festival with an incredible slam-style signing & reading from local deaf, deaf-blind, and hearing poets & essayists, Theron Parker, Kaye Love, Najma Johnson, and Krystal Cates. Check out the video of our slam below (thanks, Golden Arm Media)!


Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival & Short Film Competition is made possible in 2016 by generous support from our 2016 Film Fest sponsors. We also extend our thanks to our 2016 Short Film Competition judges and Fest volunteers Erika Lawn, Sabrina Estrada, Bryson Smith, Dusty Glover, and Amy Kantoff.

* A note about Deaf culture at Cinema Touching Disability: we acknowledge and respect that some members of the Deaf community do not necessarily consider themselves to fall under the umbrella term: Disabled. We wanted to include this film in our program because of recurring themes and challenges common to both communities - diversity, accessibility, and changing perspectives, all within the context of the arts.

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