In Its 8th Year: Turkey’s ‘Disabled’ Film Fest Held Online

In Its 8th Year: Turkey's 'Disabled' Film Fest Held Online

The Accessible Film Festival, now in its eighth year, is online from October 12 to October 18, 2020.

The festival aims to provide films that can be viewed by everyone, regardless of whether they have any disabilities.

“Defending that disabled people should be able to watch movies like everyone else and participate in cultural life so they can use their creative, artistic and intellectual potential,” the website says, “the Festival presents its screenings, workshops and other parallel activities in an accessible structure.”

This year, for the first time, there is a theme to the festival, ‘Seeking [the] Normal’. Referring to the pandemic that has greatly upended how the world operates, the theme suggests that “the way we meet our needs for work, entertainment, socializing, shopping and many other things has changed.”

It questions whether everything will return to ‘normal’ once the danger of the pandemic passes, and wonders if everything should get back to ‘normal’. Quoting a dictionary definition of ‘normal’ as “the absence of excess, lack and excessiveness, average situation”, the festival says: “Aren’t there any excesses and shortcomings in what we consider normal? In Seeking [the] Normal, we invite you to take a closer look at those who seem ordinary to us and cannot be otherwise.”

“Seeking [the] Normal consists of five sections. Old Normal: Body, Old Normal: Animal, Old Normal: City, Old Normal: Urban Space and Old Normal: Virtual Self.” In these five sections, featuring 23 films, the festival invites viewers to question what we consider normal and look for the new normal together.

There are additional sections to the festival: Competition without Barriers; From World; The Long & Short of It; and For Children.

Every year, the festival screens over thirty “recent and classic examples of Turkish and world cinema” in an accessible structure, be they feature films, documentaries, or shorts. The films are later collected in the Accessible Film Library, an archive of sorts that aims to present a gallery of accessible films to film lovers.

The Accessible Film Festival first took place in the capital, Ankara, when it began, but after four years, spread to Istanbul and Eskisehir in 2017. The website mentions a proud moment as the festival becoming a founding member of an international network called BE IN! Network of Accessible Festivals in 2019.

“Founded by the initiatives of Klappe Auf! Short Film Festival (Hamburg/Germany), Oska Bright Film Festival (Brighton/UK), Festival Inclus (Barcelona/Spain), European Film Festival Integration You and Me (Koszalin/Poland) and The Extraordinary Film Festival (Namur/Belgium) along with Accessible Film Festival, the network aims providing more visibility for the good examples of accessibility at film festivals and promoting the diversity, inclusion, and/or disability on films.”

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