Disability film competition sets young film makers on road to success

Budding young film makers are invited to show off their skills and win the opportunity of a work placement with a film production company, thanks to a competition launched by Business Disability Forum.

The not-for-profit membership organisation exists to transform the life chances of disabled people. It has launched its 10 day film challenge as part of its annual film festival taking place on 18th June 2019 in London and hosted by KPMG. The competition which is now in its third year showcases new talent through the screening of films which challenge assumptions and show different and thought-provoking perspectives on disability.

Each year, festival guests include senior representatives from leading names in business including, BBC, Barclays, Sainsburys, ITV, Royal Bank of Scotland, BT, Shell and GlaxoSmithKline.

Over the years, the competition and festival have acted as a launch pad to greater success within the film industry, for many previous winners and finalists.

The 2018 1st place winning entry, ‘Kenny Rei and the Spicy Ladies’ was recently named winner of the ‘educational’ category of the Picture This… Film Festival in Canada. The film which shows a day in the life of a man with ADHD, was produced by Miguel Ramos, with fellow students from the Manchester Film School and Manchester Metropolitan Universityfilm makers competition

Oliver Lam-Watson, a post graduate at Kingston University, was the 2017 2nd place winner. His film ‘Why do I makes life difficult for myself?’ showed the challenges of being a disabled film-maker. He was approached shortly after the festival and offered a role interviewing and filming disabled athletes at the World Para Athletic Championships in London, including Paralympic athlete, Stef Reid.  

Speaking about taking part in the film challenge, Oliver said:

“It was a great way to challenge myself and also was a great opportunity to get exposure for a topic that really means a lot to me. It was also amazing to be recognised for the stories I tell and the videos I make. 

Other finalists and runners up have gone on take up media-related roles or are continuing to make films as a part of their studies.

Undergraduate, Zoe Norgrove, is part of Squeezephone, a group from Staffordshire University. Their entry, ‘Slick’, was awarded ‘highly commended’ status at the 2018 festival. Zoe said:

“Taking part was a big step forward for me. It got me out of my comfort zone, especially when creating a film that really hit home with the subject. I wanted a chance to present hidden disabilities in a way that represented past experiences and current struggles for other people.”

This year’s young film makers are being asked to produce and submit a short film in answer to a specific question about disability and identity. The question will be issued on Friday 22nd March, and entrants will then have 10 days to produce and submit their entries (deadline Sunday 31st March). Entries can be submitted by individual or teams.

Finalists will be announced on 29th April, with all shortlisted entries given their onscreen premiers at the film festival event on 18th June, where the winner will be announced.

Prizes include a 3-day work placement with film production company 1stAveMachine, as well as Amazon vouchers.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, said:

“We launched the Business Disability Film Festival to raise greater awareness of disability and to create opportunities for the next generation of talented film-makers. It’s thrilling to hear about the difference that the film competition has made to the lives of many of the young people who have taken part. Every year brings something different, in terms of creativity, and I look forward to watching this year’s entries and being surprised and inspired, once again.”

The 10 day film challenge is open to all students and graduates. Business Disability Forum particularly welcome films featuring cast or crew with disabilities, but this is not a requirement for entry. Films can be of any genre and should be between 5 and 10 minutes long. Entries will be judged by a panel of leaders from film, business and disability.


The subject of this year’s film will be announced on Friday 22nd March and all entries must be submitted by Sunday 31st March.  For further details, and to register, go to https://businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/networking-and-events/tech-taskforce-film-festival/
March 20, 2019

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