The Other Film Festival 2014 Program Announced! Oz’s Only Disability Film Festival!

Australia’s only Disability Film Festival announces its line up for 2014 here in Melbourne! Press Release below!



December 3-7, Cinema at Melbourne Brain Centre

The world’s leading disability film festival THE OTHER FILM FESTIVAL (TOFF) returns in its sixth edition, for five days of screenings and events which welcome the audience to celebrate the lived experience of disability. Specially curated programs of features and shorts, documentaries and dramas will screen December 3-7 at the Melbourne Brain Centre in Parkville.

A special guest of TOFF is American film critic Tommy Edison, blind since birth, who burst onto the US film scene three years ago as “the blind film critic”. Equipped with candour and cut-through humour, Tommy immediately attracted the endorsement of Roger Ebert, the doyen of American film critics. After more than 25 years on local radio in Connecticut, Tommy is now building an international reputation for his film reviews on YouTube.

Tommy presents a special session as part of The Other Film Festival (TOFF) on Sunday 7 December. In addition to his session, Tommy is the chief judge of the not-so-silent screening of 1922 horror classic NOSFERATU in which people from the audience will use an open mic to live ‘audio describe’ the action for the vision-impaired members of the audience.

TOFF opens on December 3, the United Nations International Day of People with Disability, with the feature documentary FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement alongside two Australian shorts.

FIXED takes a close look at the drive to be “better than human” and the radical technological innovations that may take us there. As advances in human/machine collaborations result in a man with no legs running faster than most people in the world, what meaning has a concept like ‘disability’?  From bionic limbs and neural implants to prenatal screening, researchers around the world are hard at work developing a myriad of technologies to fix or enhance the human body. But at what cost?

In Summer DeRoche’s short documentary THE GLOBE COLLECTOR we meet Tasmanian man Andrew Pullen who is on a solo quest to protect a technology that is fast becoming forgotten, and Nicholas Jeffries’ PHANTOM PAIN, is a visually poetic exploration of one woman’s experience of phantom limb sensation.

Festival Artistic Director Rick Randall said “The Festival in 2014 has an emphasis on connection, partying and fun  – while many of the films explore quite challenging topics, there is always an opportunity for lively discussion and a debrief over drinks in the fully accessible Festival Club complete with Auslan social interpreters on hand to connect everybody to everyone else. In addition to the outstanding showcase of films, there is a range of forums and presentations covering everything from the positive side of eccentricity and Asperger’s, digital democracy in the arts and the extremely complex topic of mental health and illness.

“We welcome the cast of Australia’s longest-running theatre show back to the stage, we tackle the emotive debate on human enhancement and present the noisiest version ever of the silent classic, NOSFERATU!”

TOFF celebrates the 21st anniversary of the Australian documentary ON THE ROAD WITH SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS with a screening followed by a panel discussion featuring members of the ensemble of Australia’s longest-running theatre show plus the filmmakers to reflect on how times have changed. Or not.

Audience participation is mandatory for the screening of 1922 German horror classic NOSFERATU, accompanied by live piano by Wayne Joiner, and an open mic for sighted members of the audience to bring the film to life for their blind and low-vision fellow audience members. Three blind judges including Festival Guests Tommy Edison (, Perth-based blind filmmaker Tony Sarre and Arts Access Australia’s Emma Bennison will award the prizes – and justice, for once, will be truly blind. Free entry for Zombies, Vampires and the Undead.

 Festival highlights also include:

·      A.K.A. DOC POMUS (Canada 98mins Documentary) is a moving tribute to the world’s most unlikely rock’n’roll icon. Jerome Felder was an overweight Jewish kid from Brooklyn with polio. His parents hoped he would become a lawyer or an accountant but Jerome reinvented himself as a blues singer, taking on the coolest blues name his teenage mind could come up with: Doc Pomus. Starting as a blues singer, he went on to write some of the most memorable songs of his era including Viva Las Vegas and Save the Last Dance for Me. Discover one of music’s great untold stories.

·      OUR CURSE (Nasza klątwa) (Poland 28mins Documentary) A personal and searing account of two young parents trying to tame their rampaging fear as their newborn child comes home for the first time. Their child has Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome, also known as Ondine’s Curse, a rare and incurable disease that causes breathing failure during sleep.

·      OUT OF MIND, OUT OF SIGHT (Canada 88mins Documentary) What happens to people who suffer from mental illnesses and commit violent crimes? Many are sent to forensic psychiatric hospitals where they disappear from public view for years. As patients they struggle to gain control over their lives, hoping to return to a society that fears and demonizes them.  Of visiting the hospital, director John Kastner says “Despite decades of filming killers and other violent prisoners in penitentiaries, I was spooked. But that changed for me… I came to see these patients as they really are: mostly gentle, good people who are not evil, just ill.”

·      SINS INVALID (USA 33mins Documentary) Would you like justice with that? Sins Invalid is a secret entrance into the absurdly taboo topic of sexuality, embodiment and the disabled body. This is a performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of colour and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalised.

·      SONS AND MOTHERS (Australia, 81mins Documentary) A small group of marginalised men meet once a week as the Men’s Ensemble Theatre troupe. Led by their director, they embark on a year-long journey to create a theatrical love letter to the single most important woman in their lives. What unfolds is a poignant and intimate portrait of seven surprising individuals who reveal all with honesty, grace and a dose of irreverence. As they put their hearts on the line, complications set in. Not everyone is going to make it to opening night.

·      CROSSING THE DIVIDE (UK, 16mins Documentary) Four deaf people, separated by religion but thrown together at the only deaf school in Belfast during the Troubles in the 1970’s. Stories of friendship and love that saw this community stand united.

·      DO YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE? (Israel, 50mins Documentary) Her body is paralysed by Muscular Dystrophy and she doesn’t believe in love, but Tova, the Matchmaker, strives tirelessly to find love for everybody else. People flock to her apartment where her lust for life and tough-love approach to finding matches for people with disabilities leads to a unique matchmaking style.

·      WRETCHES & JABBERERS (USA 94mins Documentary) Two companions embark on a bold travelling quest to change the world’s attitudes about disability, speech and intelligence. As young men, Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette faced lives of social isolation in mental institutions or trapped by meaningless activities in adult disability centres. However, they taught themselves to communicate by typing, changing their lives in ways neither could imagine.

 ACCESS The Other Film Festival is committed to providing access for everyone. A range of access services and facilities will be available so that everyone can have an enjoyable and accessible festival experience. They include Captioning, Auslan interpreters for all spoken events and social interaction, Audio Description, Audio Loop for assistive listening, wheelchair access, access for Companion Card holders, and guide dogs are welcome in all areas. If it means more people are invited to the party, you simply can’t have too much access.

FESTIVAL CLUB: Dr Dax Cafe, Melbourne Brain Centre


Kenneth Myer Building, 30 Royal Parade (Cnr Genetics Lane)

University of Melbourne, Parkville Melways Ref: 2B B7

TICKETS ON SALE NOW – via or 0420 581 289

Single session pass $12 / $8 (conc & AAV Members)



TOFF poster