The Oska Bright Film Festival returns!


Oska Bright

Film Festival

the world’s leading learning disability film festival

Always surprising. Totally inclusive. The Oska Bright Film Festival is the world’s leading learning disability film festival, and it’s coming here for four film-filled days in October.

With screenings, talks, installations and awards, OBFF brings fresh international talent to the big screen. We always love having the festival here at TOM, and this year it’s got even better!

The programme includes world cinema, animation, documentary and dance-film, plus an extra-special children’s session on Saturday morning.

The line up of screenings is broken up into categories that group the films into themes. You can buy tickets to individual screening sessions, or you can buy a ticket to the entire festival and save yourself some money.

OBFF is proudly programmed, managed and delivered by a learning disabled team led by festival programmer Matthew Hellett. The full schedule is available here, and you can find out more about OBFF here.

BUT WAIT! Before you go, we’ve broken down the full line up and put together some of our top picks and highlights below.

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Launch Night

wed 23 oct, 18:00 - 21:30


Join us at the launch of Oska Bright Film Festival 2019! We’ll be opening the festival with a keynote speech plus two screenings exploring the wide ranging identities of learning disabled people; ‘It Me’ and Queer Freedom. Find out more about these two collections of screenings below…


‘It Me’

A celebration of uniqueness and identity

Take a deep dive in to the different ways learning disabled people express themselves and navigate the world. This screening is a celebration of what makes us unique and gives us an identity.

Content notes: contains strong language, sexual themes and mild violence.

Force of Habit
Tamsin Parker, 3:42, UK
As an autistic person, I struggled to understand myself. Then I watched 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' and saw myself reflected in the protagonist, Tuco.

What It Feels Like
Steven Fraser, 2:59, UK

An experimental and expressive animated documentary that investigates voice hearing. Positives and negatives combine to express misunderstood behaviour.

What Is Normal? Who Decides?
Eleana Re, 4:00, UK

Autism is not always well understood. Here artist Eleana Re gives a very personal insight into what's it like for her. Step into her very orange world…

Creatures and Things
Sam Fenton, 12:44, UK

Ben works in a factory and lives alone with his hairless cat. When he’s invited to a birthday party he’s forced to step out of his routine and into a confusing situation.

Tom McCarthaigh, 2:00, UK

Follow an alien outsider as he travels to earth to try to make a connection. Made on the Different Voices Project. A biggerhouse film production for 104 films.

Bugsy Steel, 7:30, UK

Ten minutes before a match, a teenage boxer with Down’s syndrome fights for his right to get in the ring. An exploration of amateur boxing and freedom of choice.

Shakespeare in Tokyo
Bus Stop Films, 20:00, Australia

A Shakespeare fan with Down’s syndrome, sets off on an adventure to discover Tokyo and get away from his over-bearing older brother.

Radial Dundee
Back to Back Theatre, 7:46, Australia

A continuous sequence of action, capturing the beautiful idiosyncrasies of people, bodies, communities and landscapes.

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Queer Freedom

queerness, disability, gender & friendship

The extremely popular Queer Freedom strand returns. Queer Freedom explores the intersection of queerness and disability with films about gender, friendships and the importance of language.

Born to Dance with an Extra Chromosome
Nikolay Nikolov, 9:42, UK
Drag Syndrome are superstars who have entirely changed the conversation about Down’s syndrome and drag, encouraging us all to embrace our inner diva.

Lipstick Fights
Jon Mitchell, 3:00, UK
Jon Mitchell was mentored to create a poem, visuals and soundscape exploring gender and his deeply personal struggle with his own identity.

Enid & Valerie
Matthew Kennedy & Vitoria Bastos, 2:07, UK
A short venture into the dreams of lone spinster, Valerie, where she meets Enid (a witch). Could this be the start of an unlikely friendship?

Loving Our Language: Pride in Disability Culture
Jen Sungshine & David Ng, 6:09, Canada
This film explores queerness and disability, looking at the ways that culture and language are also part and parcel of many other communities.

VAF 2018
Jessica Laurent, 1:28, Denmark
Two girls in two countries are not as different as they seem to be. Can the VAF green dog help them to realise that?

Plus a special screening from Melissa Clifford called Roberta Cowells, 1:10



Oska Bright

Thu 24 oct, 09:00 - 12:00

Discover the work of young learning disabled filmmakers in this special screening for SEN schools. Students will have the chance to watch some great films (check them out below) and complete a Discover Arts Award.

If you would like your school to take part in the Discover Oska Bright morning, please get in touch with Kitty Wallace at : or call 01273 234 734

The World According to Shady Moonface
Dale Smith, 1:46, UK
Shady Moonface is made using musical instruments, is genderless, and voices the thoughts of our members about their creative process.

Moaning, Crying and Barking
Chris Butler, 3:58, UK

A comical documentation of the struggles some people with autism go through in their day to day lives.

Silk Net
Daniel Aguirre Hansell a.k.a Emerald, 1:00, UK
Very simple, a false-burnet moth prepares to turn into a moth. Nothing too hard or complicated, just something colourful and nice.

Halloween Massacre 2
Chris Rumens/Rob Nettleton, 3:45, UK
A bunch of pumpkins are bought from a farm, ready for Halloween carving. Whilst left alone, they plan to make their escape with devastating consequences.

Tiki Trouble
Chris Rumens/Rob Nettleton, 0:34, UK

A Tiki mask is stranded on a desert island. He’s all alone. He hopes to one day have a friend.

Rob Nettleton, 4:56, UK
A lost spaceman travels the earth while waiting to be rescued. He makes some new friends along the way.

Denise Rose, 3:42, UK
In this short film a young person with autism is exploring his independence, sharing his thoughts as he steps outside.

Look For Me
Miriam Fox, 4:43, UK
An autistic child’s love of drawing helps them discover an unexpected kindred spirit. Inspired after my own diagnosis of Autism in 2017.

The Problems Of The Little Man
Alexey Protsenko, 2:17, Russia
A man slips on a snowy day and sees something rather unexpected in the woods. A lighthearted caper.

Toby Loxton, 6:55, UK
A young man focuses on his sport, trying to overcome the negative voices in his head. Will he succeed and hit the bullseye?

Tyler Cunningham, 3:53, USA

A young boy's first day out in the real world, away from his sheltered home, turns his whole life upside-down.

MTR Saturday Regulars, 3:03, UK
Starbrights are flying freely until two young men are bored one day and decide to start catching them.

Louis Walkden, 4:00, UK

“It's about the environment. I like to recycle in the big bin, I put plastic bottles there. We are going to look at charity shops to make music. I like music magpie!”

Conor Powell, 3:03, UK

Two young people enter the same shop where the shopkeeper challenges the wrong one.

The Gruntles 2
Richard Norris, 8:15, UK

Two of the Gruntles family return as spirits to try and spoil the shop. With the help of detectives and an interesting customer, they are banished into the afterlife.

Tire Swing
Gabriel Giaquinto, 2:22, USA

Hot in winter, snowy in summer... a little boy, frustrated with climate change hilariously attempts to stop it by dismantling his father's car.

We Are
In Focus Young People, 1:46, UK

An attempt to dispel the misconceptions of young people on the autism spectrum.

Dikshaa Varadharajan, 1:30, UK
Barbie meets the love of her life and jets off on an exotic honeymoon to new and exciting destinations.

The Social Agency, 2:53, UK
A short film made for ‘The Hours of Darkness’, an installation commissioned by Appetite for Stoke-on-Trent's Light Night 2019. What keeps you awake at night?

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Thu 24 Oct, 12:00 - 14:00

Different animation styles are used to show the journeys people can go on; from finding your own way in the world to self discovery and even more literal journeys from one place to another.

Carlotta’s Face
Fabian Driehorst, 5:00, Germany
Carlotta didn’t expect the people around here to have faces. She doesn’t even recognise her own face until she learns about a rare deficit of her brain.

How I Was Born
Erica Sutherland, 4:25, USA
In this world cats are only born from smoke and after a set amount of time they disappear. We follow a cat born at a funeral, searching to find his origins.

LiLAC Group, 3:50, UK
A reflection of life in Leeds, a forecast for a trip out in (un)predictable weather. Animator Rozi Fuller and Puppeteer Liz Walker’s response to LiLAC's poem.

The Unusual Bath Of Mr Otmar
Psychiatric Hospital Vrapce, 14:25, Croatia
Mr Otmar is sentenced to a psychiatric treatment with the aim of returning him to socially acceptable frameworks.

Ballad of Madness
Chris Rumens, 4:03, UK

A wild tale of a My Little Pony character who works to unite the two sides of his personality. An animated film set to an original song by Mike Fry.

Satellite Wolf
Tim Poulton, 4:25 UK
A man looks at a photo album remembering his life; when he reaches the end he realises the mistake he once made. A sad tale about what could have been.

Balloons Ahoy
Matthew Eggert, 1:37, UK
This film is about the harm plastic can do without us realising, or meaning to hurt anyone. One balloon can be enough!

Snowball Effect
Teagan Nash, 3:21, USA
Lost on an expedition, a young explorer must find the way back to their team. This is Teagan Nash’s first film. It was made almost entirely on a mobile device

Squirrel and Crow
Guillermo Gomez, 3:40, USA
In this hand-drawn animated film, a crow has an encounter with a squirrel, and learns a valuable lesson in communication and compassion.

The Train
Aaron Dunbar, 5:48, USA
"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral." A tale of artistic obsession.

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Dance and Music

Thu 24 oct, 14:00 - 15:30

Music and dance is an important part of self expression. The learning disabled music and dance scene is booming and bursting with talent. Here's some of the very best.

Lauren, Springen, Werfen' (Running, Jumping, Throwing)
Back To Back Theatre, 4:22, Australia
A collaborative film shot over three days in multiple locations throughout Berlin with The Thikwa Ensemble and Back to Back Theatre as part of No Limits Festival.

Oh Andrew
Jeff Johns, 2:38, UK
Jeff's song especially composed for his uncle Andrew who was born in the mid 1950s when attitudes to disability were very different.

It’s A Wonderful City
The Daniel Wakeford Experience and Daisy Dickinson Films, 2:45, UK
Join Daniel Wakeford as he takes you on a sunshine filled tour of his hometown, Brighton.

Bea’s Dream
Barner16, 4:05, Germany
The ambitious singer Bea tells us about her love for her manager and boyfriend Torben.

Softly Hearing
Lizzie Emeh, 3:29, UK
A new Lizzie Emeh song about her hearing. It’s about expressing yourself, not just through words but through facial expressions, sounds and visuals.

Kill Off
Genevieve Clay-Smith, 15:46, Australia
American Horror Story's Jamie Brewer stars as Sonja, a woman who forms an unlikely friendship with a Sudanese refugee through their mutual love of KRUMP.

I Am A Very Special Being
Marcus Mandal, 3:46, Denmark
"I am clever but not sly". 40-year-old Christian is diagnosed with autism. In this song he sings about who he is.

Stopgap In Motion
Stephen Featherstone, 4:40, UK
Photographs of performers come to life, dancing out of photos and across table tops until the whole company meet and perform in unison.

Your Rocky Spine
Ray Jacobs, 4:00, UK
Three couples travel through a landscape, the surrounding landscape is echoed in their bodies and emotions turning into dance.


Portrait of the Artist

Thu 24 Oct, 17:00 - 19:00
live portraits 17:00 -18:00 | screening from 18:00

A series of documentaries looking at the different ways learning disabled artists work creatively. Groundbreaking artist studios are investigated and individual artists processes and mediums are explored.

Content notes: contains strong language.

Collecting of Memories
Mark Hemsworth & Naomi Morris, 6:42, UK

Mark Hemsworth has been collecting photographs of particular subjects for many years including aircraft, sunsets, the moon, flowers, landscapes and birds.

The Magic of Cinema
Linda Curtin, 6:00, Ireland

An experimental documentary made with a group of artists who are exploring the cinematic medium through their own process.

You and Me
Sven Blume, 4:25, Sweden

What happens when your drawings come to life? A man works at his desk and is surprised when his illustrations become a new friend.

Creative Process
Jess Levine, 2:13, UK

“My film was made last year by a friend, to record different aspect of my work as a contemporary abstract artist specialising in mixed media and collage work.”

Art Studio 001
Tanya Rabbe Webber, 2:13, UK

Take a look inside ArtStudio001 Artists Collective’s studio and see what we do as artists and the different ways we work.

Soap Bubbles
Walter Uehr & Andreas Gruetzner, 3:00, Germany

Walter Uehr brought the art of creating soap bubbles to perfection in his 79 years of lifetime, whether filled with smoke as chains or dancing on his arm.

Joe Langham, 32:51, Spain

An investigation into the work of a professional design studio which harnesses the unique skills of a creative team with Down's Syndrome and autism.

Erica Sutherland, 4:24, USA

In this film Mary Decesar tells her story. She discusses her struggles as a child, how she discovered art, and how making art impacts her life.

Carding Mill Valley
Krisstel Bentley, 1:11, UK

“I had someone mentoring me called Beverly Fry and we went to Carding Mill Valley to do outdoor drawing using an iPad.”


Sci-Fi: Alternative Worlds

Thu 24 oct, 19:00 - 20:30

Sit back and get ready to blast off as we take you on a wild ride to new worlds where things are not what they seem. We’ll visit toxic wastelands, unusual pet shops and far off lands.

Bruce Dickinson, 28:50, Australia

Des and Tam are members of a clean-up crew in a strange toxic wasteland. It’s a lousy job, but it’s the best they can get, and it may just get them what they want.

Tree Of Life
Aaron Dunbar, 4:00, USA

"A tree forms itself in answer to its place and the light. Explain it how you will, the only thing explainable will be your explanation." - Wendell Berry

Escape The Ordinary
Ray Jacobs & Arty Party, 3:28, UK

The story of a young woman travelling through time and space to discover a new world.

Mirror Tree
Andrew Pengilley, 13:20, UK

An introverted boy is given a magic leaf from 'The Mirror Tree' that transports him to another world.

Way Out Assistance
Bus Stop Films, 8:00, Australia

In the near future a woman finds herself in need of help and uses technology to facilitate a new human connection and process old wounds.


After Dark (18)

thu 24 oct, 20:30 - 22:00

Lets get weird! We’ve picked the most unexplained, unexpected and experimental films for our first ever ‘After Dark’ screening.

Content notes: contains strong language, sexual themes and violence. Ages 18+ only.

Friendly Fatherly Advice
John Burgio, 1:39, USA

A father wants to pass on some advice about women to his son in an awkward car ride.

Time To Leave
Danny Smith & Roly Carline, 4:06, UK

Danny dances in a fish-god costume with iconography portraying the frustrations in his life; from the chaos he sometimes feels to the calm of a waterfall.

A Magical Evening
Arseni Okruashvili, 1:28, Georgia

What is it that attracts certain bugs to lamps? Arseni takes a cheeky look at what happens when the lights come on!

Ham ‘N’ Meat
Carousel, 0:20, UK

H&M is Ham and Meat. A digital art piece by Sarah Watson and Tina Dickinson in collaboration with Simon Wilkinson (Circa69).

What’s The Time
William Hanekom, 7:14, UK

It’s a beautiful day in Margery Daw, the land where the Dollykins live. Red, Yellow and Blue live in the house together and go on a gentle walk in the forest.

The Epistemology of Becoming
Katya Kan, 8:00, UK

This video art piece presents a spiritual mantra of positive transformation for the artist whilst struggling with her high-functioning autistic disorder.

Life Like Colour
Birkir Sigursso, 5:08,

“Dreams in colours, I fear that I'm going to lose someone that I love, someone dear to my heart.” The film is a part of the Nordic collaboration Out by Art.

George ve Gänæaard & Horia Cucută, 2:00, Romania

Frederik attempts to create the safest place possible, where he is protected by his lovely walls in a room filled with guns.

Cameron S Mitchell, 6:00, USA

A robber's plan quickly goes awry when the store he has marked turns out to be full of disabled people.

Silence Forever
Saman Aryanpour, 8:57, Iran

A girl's been caught in the dark and and hopes to be emancipated. An experimental short that looks at life through the eyes of a disabled woman.

You Will Fail Her
Lennie Varvarides & Kazimir Bielecki, 10:28,

A one woman performance about mental health and the educational apartheid that blights British society

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Co-creating Short Films

FRI 25 OCT, 11:00 - 12:30

This session will explore how learning disabled and non-learning disabled people can create films together. Filmmakers will share their experiences before each film with a Q&A panel afterwards.

What’s The Time
William Hanekom, 7:14, UK

It’s a beautiful day in Margery Daw, the land where the Dollykins live. Red, Yellow and Blue live in the house together and go on a gentle walk in the forest.

I Am Outstanding, I Am Happy
Eleana Re, 5:00, UK

A very beige office worker dreams about breaking out of her routine and living a new life in colourful Spain.

Yas Zelestine, 10:00, UK

A read through of the script for Epic Crew, a short film about a rap crew who set out to have a gig at a local club but have to overcome lots of challenges to do so.

The Audition
Beth Richards, 7:44, UK

An animated short by Beth Richards from the Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, based on her research on People with Learning Disabilities on TV.

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Oska Bright Awards Night

Fri 25 oct, 18:00 - 22:00

Join us for our star-studded awards ceremony, with extended clips from nominated films plus a performance from a very special guest (TBA). Several films will be rewarded for their excellence. See who will take home the prize for Best Story, Best Documentary, Best Choreography, Best Performance, Best International Film and Best Animation.


Oska Bright: Under the Sea

sat 26 oct, 10:00 - 11:00 or 11:30 - 12:30

Come along to Oska Bright Film Festival’s morning of under the sea themed activities and films for young people (5+) with learning disabilities. Join us for an hour long session at 10am or 11:30am. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Undersea Adventure
Shadowlight Artists, 4:24, UK

The Shadowlight Artists associates seeking lost treasure travel to the bottom of the ocean in submarine. They meet all sorts of sea creatures.

Balloons Ahoy
Matthew Eggert, 1:37, UK

This film is about the harm plastic can do without us realising, or meaning to hurt anyone. One balloon can be enough!

Ebb And Flow
Beacon Film, 6:57, UK

A film using the theme “Ultramarine” as its starting point, this piece was created as a looping presentation about the highs and lows of human emotion.

Heartbreak And Beauty
Bus Stop Films, 14:42, Australia

Combining music, visual metaphor, dance and original poetry to express how we are all connected through our shared human experiences of love and loss.

Nick The Fish
2:33, UK

Nick says goodbye to his Dad and heads out the door for the day. His world is turned upside down when he is caught by a fisherman.

Sky And Sea
0:36, UK

Layered and changing iPad drawings inspired by the sky and sea, captured in a time-lapse film.

The Sea Reminds Me
Ray Jacobs, 10:00, UK

Mark can’t come to terms with his fathers death. He is truly all at sea. Mark’s yearning for real touch and connection urge him to a welsh seaside town.


Oska Bright: Drama

Sat 26 Oct, 14:00 - 15:30

Love, family and friendship are some of the deepest connections we form; with these four short films we dig deeper in to the meaning of connection.

Content notes: contains strong language and violence.

I Used To Be Famous
Eddie Sternberg, 17:00, UK

Made in conjunction with The BFI and Film London, this film follows two outsiders who transform each others world’s through the power of music.

Lost Ones
Maria Castillejo Carmen, Maëlle Grand Bossi & Elisabeth Silveiro, 13:00, France

A supermarket at the end of the day. While a few customers are finishing their groceries, a hooded intruder breaks into the store.

Bahador Adab, 10:00, Iran

A young guy sells his handmade Whirligig’s at a market to buy what he likes. After selling all his ‘gigs he comes across a seller, selling "magical markers".

Daniele Bonarini, 13:23, Italy

Tiziano wants to go to the Cinecittà World amusement park at all costs to visit the Old West. Will what he finds there be different to what he'd imagined?

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European Partners

Sat 26 Oct, 15:30 - 17:30

Short film festivals are popular all over Europe, but few programme films like these. The five festivals in our European network want to shake up the scene.

Accessible FF presents: The Bird Has No Wings
Mert Tugen, 4:40, Turkey

There are four birds in an environment where the water in the sky is separated by glass. But the smallest of these birds does not have wings to fly. One day, the lights reflected from the above glass cause a fire.

EFF Integration You and Me presents: An Elephant On The Moon
Benjamin Barthélémy, 9:00, France

Paris by night. It’s stormy and raining a lot. Lightning hits a 'handicapped' traffic sign and the 20cm white guy in the wheelchair falls on the ground and comes alive. Because everything in this giant raining world is a danger to him, he decides go to the moon by stolen balloon.

Festival Inclús presents: Nini
David Moreno, 18:00, Spain

Between success and jail there is only a hole in the floor...

Klappe Auf! Short FF presents: Coldstar
Kai Stänicke, 7:30, Germany

A boy experiences new desires while watching a man at an indoor swimming pool. Forced up the diving platform by a rowdy gang, he receives help from an unexpected source. Cold Star is an appeal for acceptance of your own and others sexual identity.

Oska Bright Film Festival presents: A Safe Place To Rest
Ray Jacobs, 5:25, UK

Created in Wales with music from Deuair. Exploring responses to these surroundings and echoing Graham’s restlessness and desire to find a place to rest.

TEFF presents: Macropolis
Joel Simon, 7:00, UK

The story of two reject toys who escape from the factory. Determined to rejoin the other toys, they lose themselves in the big city. Shot in an unusual combination of stop motion, CGi and time-lapse photography, this short film is animated entirely on the streets of Belfast.


Award Winners Screening

Sat 26 oct, from 18:00

Come and see the very best of Oska Bright Film Festival 2019 at our very special award-winners screening. We’ll be showing all of the films that have won awards at this year’s festival from across the whole programme. Prepare to be blown away!

Phew! If you’ve made it this far down the page then we owe you a huge congratulations - your scrolling finger has had quite the work out…

What an incredible line up of films, we can’t wait to see you there!

Team TOM x