A FILM FES­TI­VAL FOR DIS­ABLED AU­DI­ENCES

The 6th Ac­ces­si­ble Film Fes­ti­val, to be held in Eskişe­hir and Ankara fol­low­ing the re­cent con­clu­sion of its Is­tan­bul leg, aims to fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess to films for the dis­abled through spe­cial fa­cil­i­ties for the vis­ually and hear­ing im­paired as well as au­die

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

FOR VIS­UALLY and hear­ing im­paired cinema lovers as well as au­di­ences with autism, the 6th Ac­ces­si­ble Film Fes­ti­val is be­ing held in three big cities Is­tan­bul, Eskişe­hir and Ankara and will be screen­ing around 40 films from Turk­ish and world cinema

THE AC­CES­SI­BLE Film Fes­ti­val, or­ga­nized for the sixth time to pro­vide equal ac­cess to cul­tural events re­gard­less of dis­abil­i­ties, will again be held in Is­tan­bul, Eskişe­hir and Ankara prov­inces.

The fes­ti­val, which screens nearly 40 films - the best ex­am­ples of Turk­ish and world cinema - with ac­cess for vis­ually and hear­ing-im­paired cinema lovers, also of­fers many other events for dis­abled au­di­ences.

The fes­ti­val took place in Is­tan­bul Oct. 8-10 and will now be held in Eskişe­hir Oct. 12-14 and in Ankara Oct. 17-21. The pro­gram con­sists of seven parts: “Com­pe­ti­tion With­out Bar­ri­ers” with lo­cal pro­duc­tions from 2017, “Turk­ish Cinema” with prom­i­nent Turk­ish films, “From the World” with award-win­ning re­cent films of world cinema, “Films With­out Bar­ri­ers” that en­cour­age us to think about our per­cep­tion of dis­abil­ity, “From the His­tory of Cinema” with Turk­ish and world clas­sics, “For Chil­dren” to in­spire a new gen­er­a­tion film­mak­ers to imag­ine and “The Long & Short of It” for lovers of short films.

The pro­gram also hosts the An­i­ma­tion of He­roes Work­shop for chil­dren ages 9-12, Autism Friendly Screen­ing for chil­dren and youth on the autism spec­trum, a Vir­tual Re­al­ity Ex­pe­ri­ence, held for the first time last year, and con­ver­sa­tions with film guests af­ter the films.

All the films will be screened with au­dio de­scrip­tions for vis­ually im­paired peo­ple and with sign lan­guage and de­tailed sub­ti­tles for the hear­ing im­paired pre­pared by the Au­dio De­scrip­tion Foun­da­tion. All film screen­ings and other events are free of charge.

Daily Sabah con­ducted an in­ter­view with the fes­ti­val’s pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor, Ezgi Yalı­nalp, who gave in­sight about the aim, screen­ing pro­gram, spe­cial events and fa­cil­i­ties for dis­abled au­di­ences.

The fes­ti­val was born in 2013 with the aim of meet­ing a real need. “The idea of the Ac­ces­si­ble Film Fes­ti­val emerged in 2013. As a team that has been in­volved in the or­ga­ni­za­tion of var­i­ous film fes­ti­vals over the year, we wanted to make a fes­ti­val that has char­ac­ter and that meets a real need. We also wanted this fes­ti­val to be an event that will con­tinue for many years, not just a one off. We started to pon­der whether we can make a fes­ti­val that can be ac­cessed by the vis­ually and hear­ing im­paired. When we re­al­ized that it was tech­ni­cally pos­si­ble, we set up a project, found funds and or­ga­nized the first fes­ti­val in Ankara in 2013,” Yalı­nalp noted.

PAR­TIC­I­PA­TION IN CUL­TURAL LIFE

The team set off to help dis­abled au­di­ences par­tic­i­pate in the cul­tural life that, most of the time, is not avail­able for them. “The Ac­ces­si­ble Film Fes­ti­val is based on the right of “par­tic­i­pa­tion in cul­tural life,” which is a ba­sic hu­man right. We are car­ry­ing out all our screen­ings and side events at lo­ca­tions that have an ac­ces­si­ble struc­ture for those who can­not hear or see, and we of­fer them the chance to fol­low cur­rent cinema. We aim to help vis­ually and hear­ing im­paired in­di­vid­u­als fol­low cinema and for ev­ery­one, dis­abled or not, to be able to fol­low the lat­est pro­duc­tions to­gether. This em­pha­sis on to­geth­er­ness is the most im­por­tant fo­cus of our fes­ti­val. We be­lieve that par­tic­i­pa­tion in cul­ture and arts events is not a lux­ury but a right and there­fore, we de­signed and re­al­ized a fes­ti­val that can be fol­lowed by ev­ery­one,” she con­tin­ued.

Many in­di­vid­u­als, uni­ver­si­ties and cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions have sup­ported the fes­ti­val with var­i­ous con­tri­bu­tions. “The main sup­porter of this year’s Ac­ces­si­ble Film Fes­ti­val or­ga­nized by Pu­ruli Cul­ture Art is the Open So­ci­ety Foun­da­tion. The fes­ti­val is or­ga­nized by the Cul­ture and Tourism Min­istry and is also sup­ported by the Euro­pean Union Turkey Del­e­ga­tion, the U.S. em­bassy, the Aus­trian em­bassy, Aus­tria Cul­ture Of­fice, the Bri­tish Coun­cil and the French Cul­tural Cen­ter in Ankara, the Goethe-In­sti­tut in Ankara, the U.K. em­bassy and the Ir­ish em­bassy,” she in­formed.

The ac­ces­si­ble venues of the fes­ti­val are pro­vided by Boğaz­içi Uni­ver­sity, Eskişe­hir Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Çankaya Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the Goethe-In­sti­tut in Ankara. Fil Bil­işim, 26-45 Yapım, the Boğaz­içi Uni­ver­sity Vis­ually Im­paired Tech­nol­ogy and Ed­u­ca­tion Lab­o­ra­tory (GETEM), Moire Graph­ics-Video-Sound, Notte Otel, Sesli Be­tim­leme Derneği and SineBU are the main spon­sors of the fes­ti­val.

Fes­ti­val part­ners are Klappe Auf! Short Film Fes­ti­val and Oska Bright Film Fes­ti­val.

RICH SE­LEC­TION OF FILMS

The movie se­lec­tion is pre­pared by the fes­ti­val team. “We have cre­ated a few the­matic ti­tles for the pro­gram and picked our movie se­lec­tion ac­cord­ing to these ti­tles,” she ex­plained.

“Com­pe­ti­tion With­out Bor­ders, “Turk­ish Cinema,” “From World,” “Films With­out Bar­ri­ers,” “The Long & Short of It,” “For Chil­dren” and “From His­tory of Cinema” are the per­ma­nent sec­tions of our pro­gram.

“We are bring­ing to­gether a to­tal of 38 movies, which are the best ex­am­ples of Turk­ish and world cinema this year. ‘İşe Yarar Bir Şey’ (‘Some­thing Use­ful’), ‘Kar’ (‘Snow’), ‘Kele­bek­ler’ (‘But­ter­flies’), ‘Sofra Sır­ları’ (‘Se­rial Cook’) and ‘Yol Ke­narı’ (‘Side­way’), in­cluded in the ‘Com­pe­ti­tion with­out Bor­ders’ sec­tion will com­pete for the Best Film, Best Di­rec­tor, Best Screen­play and Au­di­ence Spe­cial awards this year. The win­ners will be an­nounced at the awards cer­e­mony to take place on Oct. 20. We will be watch­ing the most talked about pro­duc­tions of re­cent years in Turkey in the ‘Turk­ish Cinema’ sec­tion while award-win­ning ex­am­ples of world cinema will be screened in the ‘From the World’ sec­tion. ‘Films with­out Bar­ri­ers’ in­cludes movies that make us ques­tion our per­cep­tions about dis­abil­ity. The ‘Long & Short of It’ in­cludes short movies pro­duced in Turkey and ‘For Chil­dren’ will host an­i­ma­tions for chil­dren and ‘From His­tory of Cinema’ will in­clude cult movies that have left their mark on the his­tory of cinema,” she said, of­fer­ing a brief about what awaits the au­di­ence.

FILMS WITH­OUT BAR­RI­ERS

This se­lec­tion con­sists of movies that ques­tion our per­cep­tions of dis­abil­ity. “We select movies with char­ac­ters or creative teams or those deal­ing with the is­sue of dis­abil­ity from Turk­ish and in­ter­na­tional cinema,” Yalı­nalp said.

FA­CIL­I­TIES FOR THE DIS­ABLED

All the movies are screened with au­dio de­scrip­tion for the vis­ually im­paired and with sign lan­guage and de­tailed sub­ti­tles for the hear­ing im­paired. “There are sign lan­guage trans­la­tors at our events for chats with film crews, work­shops and the award cer­e­mony. We also pay at­ten­tion to our venues to be ac­ces­si­ble for or­tho­pe­di­cally hand­i­capped,” she added.

SPE­CIAL SEC­TION FOR AUTISM

Un­doubt­edly, peo­ple with autism are much more sen­si­tive to light and noise. The fes­ti­val has taken steps to make their ex­pe­ri­ence at the fes­ti­val fun and stress free. “Since 2015, we have been or­ga­niz­ing a spe­cial ses­sion ti­tled ‘Autism Friendly Screen­ing.’ Peo­ple with autism are un­able to go to the movies since they are sen­si­tive to loud noises and bright lights. When you min­i­mize these stim­uli, peo­ple with autism can also watch movies com­fort­ably. Within the scope of ‘Autism Friendly Screen­ing,’ we have chil­dren watch the movies in a dim hall at a low vol­ume. No pro­mo­tional movies or ad­ver­tise­ments are shown. The au­di­ence can bring food and drinks to the hall and act as they wish,” Yalı­nalp ex­plained.

A CHANCE TO SO­CIAL­IZE

Ezgi Yalı­nalp stressed that since even go­ing out might be a prob­lem for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, that par­tic­i­pa­tion may be low. “The per­cent­age of view­ers who can­not see, hear or are or­tho­pe­di­cally hand­i­capped is around 30 per­cent. But since the peo­ple with and with­out dis­abil­i­ties can come to­gether and fol­low the fes­ti­val, its ef­fect is cru­cial for both sides. They have the op­por­tu­nity to com­mu­ni­cate and un­der­stand each other bet­ter. We get very pos­i­tive feed­back from our au­di­ence. We re­ceive this feed­back both when we come to­gether dur­ing the fes­ti­val and also from the ques­tion­naires we con­duct with the au­di­ence. The feed­back we re­ceive is both our source of mo­ti­va­tion and a chance for us the cor­rect the short­com­ings we are not aware of,” she high­lighted.

VIR­TUAL RE­AL­ITY & AN­I­MA­TION

The fes­ti­val also of­fers a spe­cial vir­tual re­al­ity (VR) ex­pe­ri­ence for par­tic­i­pants to get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how a par­tic­u­lar dis­abil­ity feels. “Our Vir­tual Re­al­ity Ex­pe­ri­ence, or­ga­nized for the first time last year, con­tin­ues this year as well. Within the scope of this sec­tion, which we have ex­panded the scope of, view­ers will be able to ex­pe­ri­ence three dif­fer­ent VR venues. Thus, we will fo­cus on per­sonal the ex­pe­ri­ences of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent dis­abil­ity groups. ‘Un­rest VR’ fo­cuses on a young women with chronic fa­tigue syn­drome; ‘Party VR’ fea­tures 16-year-old Layla with autism; while ‘VRa­bil­ity: Maxim Kise­lev’ gives us the chance to look at the world from the point of view of Maxi Kise­lev, the only ath­lete in the world skat­ing with a wheel­chair.

“The an­i­ma­tion movie work­shop, which we have been or­ga­niz­ing since the first year of the fes­ti­val, was one of our side events this year. An­i­ma­tor Işık Dik­men will act as the trainer in this one-day work­shop and teach hear­ing-im­paired chil­dren to learn how to ex­press them­selves with an­i­ma­tion,” she said.

Within the scope of the autism-friendly screen­ing, chil­dren watch movies in a dim hall with the sound low­ered. No pro­mo­tional movies or ad­ver­tise­ments are in­cluded in the screen­ings.

View­ers will be able to ex­pe­ri­ence what the dis­abled go through via VR glasses in the foy­ers of three dif­fer­ent VR venues.

“VRa­bil­ity: Maxim Kise­lev” gives au­di­ences the chance to look at the world from the point of view of Maxi Kise­lev, the only ath­lete in the world who skates in a wheel chair.

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