2016 Short Film Competition

Film Fest logo. A blue handy man leaning forward holds a green video camera. The wheel of his wheelchair forms the C in the phrase Cinema Touching Disability.

November 4-5, 2016
Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 West Anderson Lane, Austin TX, 78757 (map)

Documentary Division

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.1st Place & Audience Favorite: Beneath the Surface (dir. Frederick Kroetsch)
Daniel Ennett attempts to become the first scuba certified quadruple amputee. And then the sharks show up.

2nd Place: SKY (dir. Loes Janssen)
Sky is nine years old and has a significant hearing impairment. He tries hard to participate in his class which is full of good hearing children, but often he feels powerless and misunderstood. He thinks the outsiders don’t understand him, but does he understand them? In this short documentary we observe Sky during and after school time as he tries to maintain grip on his environment.

3rd Place: Being Seen (dir. Paul Zehrer)
Being Seen explores the poorly understood subculture of people living with "developmental disabilities." These individuals' candid and articulate self-awareness quickly shatter preconceptions of who they are and how they think about themselves and the world — leaving us with existential questions about the meaning of "disabled" and "normal”. Rather than defining themselves by their diagnosis, individuals (young and old) strive to create meaning, meet adversity, and dream of their futures. Bay Area filmmakers, Paul Zehrer and Chikara Motomura, spent over three years following individuals living with developmental disabilities throughout the Bay Area. View trailer and learn more about Being Seen at www.beingseenmovie.com.


One Handed Hero (dir. Lina De Jesus)
TuKo loves video games and plays them well, even though he was born with just one hand.

Program 4 (dir. Brianna Pressey)
This film chronicles the subjective experience of people adapting to life with cochlear implants. The implant provides a unique opportunity for people with hearing impairments to regain the sense of sound. The sound, however, is completely different from the way that typical humans hear, creating an entirely different experience and an often challenging adaptation process. Through the eyes of three different people at three different stages of life, alongside several experts in the field, we get a unique snapshot at this remarkable transition.

Rosarno Self Portraits (dir. Andrea Nevi)
Six young men and women from Rosarno (Italy) talk about their daily life in a place around town which best represents them. A park, a square, their school gym, the countryside, their backyard and social networks all contribute to draw a physical and virtual map of town – a space collecting life stories, crisscrossed by roads and relationships and dotted by buildings and feelings. Despite their physical and mental disabilities and the complex social fabric of this beautiful part of Calabria (Southern Italy) on the Mediterranean Sea, these young men and women tell their powerful story to the camera with a serene mind. After independently choosing its contents and setting, they are thus both actors and co-authors.

What Makes You Tic? (dir. Josie Sevilla)
A high school student shares her journey to find strategies for dealing with Tourette's Syndrome. View What Makes You Tic?

Non-documentary Division

Still from animated film in sepia tones. With a large tent, tree, and a train in the background, two soldiers stand in the foreground. One, with one leg, lights a cigarette for the other, who is missing his arms.1st Place: Ghosts (dir. Simon Mckeown)
Ghosts is a captivating, provocative, and ultimately moving film providing a timely comment on the millions disabled by WWI, in the aftermath of which, cities and countries witnessed enormous numbers of their young returning, alive, but permanently injured. In this short film, a cast of disabled veterans from across the spectrum of WWI awake and prepare for the day ahead. Using motion captured 3D characters and set on a minimal battlefield the characters, based on historic photographs, chat, eat, play sport, and dance. Mckeown presents a warm and poignant perspective on war and disability as he offers up an unexpected take on the legacies of war and disability in Europe today. The disability of WWI is familiar to us all in more than one sense. View Ghosts.

2nd Place: Wheels of Fortune (dir. Simone Tunbridge)
Jonathan is just a regular guy like everybody else. He goes to work. He catches the bus. He dines at nice restaurants. The only difference is he does it on wheels. But some people just don’t know how to deal with that. View and learn more about Wheels of Fortune.

3rd Place & Audience Favorite: Silent (dir. Lindsey Hunter)
Silent is about a deaf girl who is bullied at school for being deaf by three girls. Over the course of the film, one of the girls sees the extent her friends are willing to go to bully her and decides to try and right the wrongs.


The Contagion (dir. Peter Ercolano)
No one smiles anymore. There is only one person who still able to. He lives far away from everyone and everything... deep in the wild. Alone, probably too alone. One day he decides to leave his hermitage in search of friendship and warmth. His arrival and his smile trigger: The Contagion.

The Quiet Ones (dir. Teresa Garratty)
A teacher at a Deaf boarding school is brutally murdered, and the suspects have been narrowed down to four students. Can Detective Clarke and psychologist Dr. Barton reveal the murderer’s identity before it's too late? Which one of the students is a cold blooded killer? It's always The Quiet Ones.

Sissy's Dream (dir. Fabrizio Gammardella)
The story is about Sissy, a blind and sweet little girl, who dreams to fly free up in the sky astride her dog.

Well Done (dir. Riccardo Di Gerlando)
A young man goes to visit an art museum and will be fascinated by a symbolic picture.

WORDS (dir. Andy Phillips)
Searching for the courage to overcome his stutter and share his poetic gift, William - a young uptown yuppie - ventures into the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans to immerse himself into the city's gritty Spoken-Word scene at The Slam Poetry Cafe. Elaine runs The Slam and takes a liking to this unlikely regular to her club. She challenges him to rise above his fears, step up to the mic, and finally let his voice be heard. Filmed on location in the Lower Ninth Ward, WORDS is a soulful depiction of the city's artistic and cultural hospitality. It's a story of courage, friendship, and self-discovery.

2016 Competition Judges

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