International Disability Film Festival
June 7 - 11

Part of the 2010 International VSA Festival

AFI Silver is collaborating with VSA--the international organization on arts and disability--to present the International Disability Film Festival, which will include a wide selection of outstanding films by and about people with disabilities from all over the world. The film festival is part of the 2010 International VSA Festival, taking place in theaters, museums, cultural institutions, and public spaces throughout the Washington metropolitan area, and bringing together more than 2,000 participants from around the globe.

Tickets for all film screenings and panel discussions are FREE and available from the AFI Silver Box Office starting at 1:30 p.m. the day of the show only (limit 4 tickets per person).

All films presented in digital format except THE WILLOW TREE (35mm). All films are either captioned or subtitled in English. Accessibility accommodations include wheelchair access, Open Captioning or subtitles, Audio Description, and Assistive Listening Devices. American Sign Language Interpretation will be available for panel discussions only. Please contact AFI in advance to request access accommodations at [email protected].

For information on other festival events, please visit the 2010 International VSA Festival website here.

About VSA
VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, was founded 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts.

About the 2010 International VSA Festival
From June 6-12, 2010, VSA will bring together artists, educators, researchers, and policymakers with and without disabilities from around the world for the 2010 International VSA Festival--a multicultural celebration of the arts and education. The Festival will feature a dazzling array of visual, performing, literary, and media artists. The guest list includes more than 2,000 people, including VSA's network of U.S. and international affiliates, and audience members from around the globe.

The International Disability Film Festival is part of the 2010 International VSA Festival, funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, the content of this program does not necessarily reflect the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and endorsement by the federal government should not be assumed.

A NOTE TO AUDIENCES: Because films in the International Disability Film Showcase have not been evaluated by the MPAA rating system, AFI has made its best effort to inform audiences about any film content that could lead to a restricted rating if released in the US. The following is a guide:

= violence = sexuality = drug use


In Person: director/producer Hilari Scarl!

Deaf people can do anything but hear. But an all-deaf rock band? A deaf comic internationally famous but unknown to hearing people? A modern day Buster Keaton who teaches at Juilliard but is currently homeless? A hard of hearing singer who is considered "not deaf enough?" This film follows the journeys of four extraordinary deaf entertainers over the course of a single year as their stories intertwine and culminate in some of the most important events of their lives. This powerful documentary explores these unsung artists, and offers audiences a touching and humorous peek into the vibrancy of deaf culture.

DIR/PROD Hilari Scarl; PROD Wordplay, Inc. US, 2008, color, 90 min. In English with open captioning. RATED PG-13

Monday, June 7, 7:00, 9:30

Shorts Program


In Person: Director Roger Ross Williams!

Prudence lives in Zimbabwe, and for a long time almost no one knew about that hauntingly beautiful voice. No one knew the strong, resilient woman who owned it. They were unable to overlook her body; she was born with a condition called arthrogryposis that resulted in limited mobility. Then Prudence and some fellow musicians start an Afro-fusion band called Liyana ("it's raining" in Ndebele). All eight members have disabilities, and their talent and enthusiasm are impossible to ignore. This Oscar-award-winning short documentary is not to be missed.

DIR/PROD Roger Ross Williams; PROD Elinor Burkett. Zimbabwe, 2010, color, 33 min. In English with open captions. NOT RATED


Drona loves buses. The nine-year-old knows all the routes and stops in Amsterdam by heart and is forever posing questions to the city's bus drivers. Drona has autism, goes to a school for kids with disabilities, and spends most of his free time with his older brother Arjun. Arjun complains that Drona's incessant questions give him a headache; otherwise, however, the two get along very well. This short film mixes color and black-and-white sequences and shows that autism is no obstacle to a loving sibling relationship.

DIR Catherine van Campen. Netherlands, 2009, color and b&w, 19 min. In Dutch with English subtitles. NOT RATED


Attempting to make his comeback into filmmaking by directing an emotional drama about the struggles of living with a disability, Jasper is thwarted at every turn by his cast of witty and capable adolescents. This short comedy challenges condescension to the disabled community.

DIR/SCR Justin Edgar; PROD Alex Usborne. UK, 2007, color, 15 min. In English with open captioning. NOT RATED

Tuesday, June 8, 7:15


Ben (Greg Timmermans) is different. Diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, he finds calm and happiness in his favorite online computer game, while attempting to train himself for the real world he lives in. He finds the harsh world of high school a torturous hell, and his family is more afraid than understanding of his condition. As the bullying escalates, Ben devises a terrifying plan to put an end to his troubles, when Scarlite (Laura Verlinden), a girl he met in his online game, shows up in his real life.

DIR/SCR Nic Balthazar; PROD Burny Bos, Peter Bouckaert, Erwin Provoost, Michiel de Rooij. Belgium, 2006, color, 90 min. In Dutch with open captioning in English. NOT RATED

Tuesday, June 8, 9:15


This documentary depicts the real and imaginary life of Antoine, a five-year-old boy detective who runs, drives, makes decisions, hosts radio shows and adores telephone conversations. A child who is blind, he is integrated into the regular school system in Montreal with unprecedented success, and solves marvelous mysteries with his two best friends. Antoine uses a mini-boom microphone to discover and capture the sounds surrounding him, finding clues in flowers, rain and windows. In this manner he co-created the soundtrack of this film, and directs its exploration of his extraordinary life.

DIR/SCR/PROD Laura Bari. Canada, 2009, color, 82 min. In French with open captioning in English. NOT RATED

Wednesday, June 9, 7:15


Youssef, a university professor who is blind, is suddenly diagnosed with a fatal disease and must undergo treatment. In the process, he miraculously regains his full sight. After forty years of living as a blind man, he finds himself struggling to readjust to the life he had before. From Iranian director Majid Majidi, this thought-provoking narrative of life with and without sight delves into the question of what makes for a complete life.

DIR/PROD/SCR Majid Majidi. Iran, 2005, color, 86 min. In Persian with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Wednesday, June 9, 9:15


In Person: director/producer Jim Bigham!

This is the true story of a band made up of singers and musicians with a wide range of mental and physical disabilities. Revealing their struggles and triumphs, as performers and people, dealing with severe challenges while on a journey to become true musicians and perform to large audiences, this documentary is a moving look at a special group and their love of making music. With passionate concert footage and intimate behind-the-scenes glimpses into the band member's lives, this is a story about what people can do when given a chance.

DIR Mark Moorman, James Bigham, Javier Pena; PROD James Bigham. US, 2009, color, 84 min. In English and Spanish with open captioning in English. NOT RATED

Thursday, June 10, 7:15


Santiago Zannou's impressive feature film debut, the winner of three Goya awards, including Best Debut Film, Best Acting and Best Music. Paralyzed from childhood, Cuajo has a single dream: to succeed in music. Together with his friend Adolfo, he attempts to set up a studio and brings together some of the hottest Spanish-language rappers, including Elio Sagues, Ovone Candela, La Mala Rodriguez and El Langui.

DIR/SCR Santiago Zannou; SCR Ivan Morales. Spain, 2008, color, 100 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Thursday, June 10, 9:15


The documentary film follows Niko von Glasow as he looks for eleven people who, like him, were born with disabilities due to the disastrous side effects of Thalidomide. He asks them to pose nude for a book of photos to allow those who regularly throw furtive glances at Thalidomiders and other people with physical disabilities, to take a good, long look. With a darkly humorous touch, and no deference to political correctness, this film explores the lives of these twelve extraordinary people, and shows them reacting with curiosity, enthusiasm, and sometimes even horror toward the project and one another.

DIR/SCR/PROD Niko von Glasow; SCR Andrew Emerson, Kiki von Glasow; PROD Frank Henschke, Anne-Sophie Quancard. Germany, 2008, color, 84 min. In English and German with open captioning in English. NOT RATED

Friday, June 11, 7:00


This film is Mat Whitecross' (THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO) rip-snorting portrait of capricious British punk rock pioneer Ian Dury (BAFTA nominee Andy Serkis). From a troubled childhood and living with the physical effects of polio to the effects of fame on relationships and fatherhood, here are the highs and lows of a life lived sneeringly, unapologetically out loud. Also starring Naomie Harris (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN), Ray Winstone and Olivia Williams.

DIR Mat Whitecross; SCR Paul Viragh; PROD Damian Jones. UK, 2010, color, 115 min. In English with open captions. NOT RATED

Screening with:

When two men with physical disabilities fight over the last disabled parking space, there are unexpected consequences.

DIR/SCR Lou Birks. UK, 2007, color, 3 min. In English with open captioning. NOT RATED

Friday, June 11, 9:10