The Oska Bright 2022 Film Festival is almost here! A world leader in representing films made by or starring people who have a learning disability and people on the autistic spectrum, the festival is now celebrating its 10th edition. SOURCE grabbed some time in the jam-packed diary of Deputy Artistic Director, Lizzie Banks, as she prepares for a very big week ahead.
Tell us about how Oska Bright came to be…
It all started in 2004. Artists at Carousel, a learning disability-led arts organisation based in Brighton, felt they just weren’t getting enough exposure in mainstream cinema. The festival was born out of a desire to reach a bigger audience and get their work seen. It started as just one day, but now runs for a week and features film-makers from all over the UK and the world. Oska Bright really pushes boundaries and challenges wider preconceptions of what learning-disabled people can do. It’s all about visibility and seeing the world through the lens of autistic and learning-disabled people.
What’s happening at this year’s event?
We’re bigger than ever with screenings in Brighton and Lewes – we’ll also be hosting screenings across the UK, including the Barbican in London, GFT in Glasgow and Chapter in Cardiff. On our opening night we’re showing Queer Freedom, a series of films that explore the intersection between having a learning disability and sexuality. Also on our opening night, we’ll be launching a new strand Women in Film, to shine a light on the incredible talents of female-identifying learning-disabled film-makers. The same week we’ve got a selection of music and dance films (pictured above) at the Depot. Our big awards ceremony is at Fabrica on March 18th with a performance from Drag Syndrome.
What are you most excited about this year?
Coming back together and having communal cinema experiences after Covid. People have still been making films and being creative through a strange time. Now it’s time to celebrate and share their work.
Any stars on the red carpet?
George Webster! He’s starring in films called S.A.M and BEBE AI he just landed a job presenting on CBBC. We have lots of local film-makers too, including father-and-son production team, Ross and Ronnie Jameson, whose film Running With Trains is about how Ronnie dealt with lockdown. And we have some star sponsors, including Lighthouse, Brighton’s Screen and Film School and Adult Swim.
What’s your favourite film?
That’s a hard question! I think it has to be the Swedish film Man Without Direction. It’s inspired by Dante’s Inferno, it’s weird and brilliant and very, very Lynchian.
Oska Bright runs at various venues from 16th to 22nd March 2022
Tickets and the full programme can be found here: www.oskabright.org