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netribution > features > interview with caglar kimyoncu > page two

How did you become involved in the festival?
Through Julie McNamara, she’s a scriptwriter , song writer, Irish Folk singer and an artist and lots of other things, last year’s festival was mainly her idea and when I heard about it I jumped at the chance to be involved. I used to work for the DAiL (Disability Arts in London) magazine as an administrator, I was there for about 2 years but I wasn’t happy with it because it lacked my creativity and I didn’t want to be a journalist so it wasn’t the right direction for me. I was very involved with film but only on a personal level and that was when Julie came up with the idea for the festival, so I volunteered, Julie did the majority of the work and I just helped her out. This year I had to decide which direction I was going to go, I wasn’t happy working at the magazine, it's a great magazine but the work was wasn’t my cup of tea. So I left there, needed something else to do and Julie suggested I apply for the post which was open. That posed its own problems because that wasn’t a post specifically designed for the festival. For lots of people (including funders) the Festival didn't have a future but only to look on paper as 'ohh those poor cripples did something wonderful’ that’s it! I became the official Outreach Worker that would have to look after the requests and expectations. I hate the term but I’m the outreach worker for The London Disability Arts Forum and my job is to create events in particular boroughs for disabled people.

How do the filmmakers feel about their current level of representation?
They are very excited because the only recognised disability film festival actually run by the disable people is in America, there aren’t any in Europe run in the same way which means that the films shown are from a certain point of view, non disabled people looking at disable people. We wanted to change that. What I tell people that I come into contact with is that its your festival, make it happen. Everybody is very excited, at the beginning they were a bit hesitant because they’ve all experienced the situations where able bodied people approach them with, You are a disabled filmmaker, how exciting, you are a hero!’ They didn’t want that to happen, they are filmmakers who have disabilities, its part of their identity . It is not something they want to hide.In The Disability Film Festival any disabled filmmaker has an opportunity to represent themselves, meet the audience, exchange information and experiences and its a great thing to show your film. it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to work on the disability issue but, because of who you are, it reflects in your work.

How do you go about encouraging these filmmakers?
For example, your attitude was perfect because you didn’t approach us as poor cripples. Also, a few universities had a similar attitude but the majority didn’t, my colleague Andy Kimpton-Nye sent letters to all the film schools and universities in the country asking whether they had any disabled film students at all. Most of them just ignored the letter, most of the rest politely said that they wanted to but don’t have the money or access but some just acted ignorant and said that they couldn’t get hold of that information. That’s bullshit.

In that case, what advice would you give to aspiring disabled filmmakers?
It depends what they want but my advice would be to just go for it, never take no for an answer, keep looking for hidden opportunities and use the internet because of its power to channel information. But just go for it and if they need to talk to someone then talk to us.

The 2nd Disability Film Festival is being held at the Lux Cinema in Hoxton Square, London N1 on Sat 6th and Sun 7th May, there’ll be films, discussions, a panel and introductions to the films by the filmmakers.
There’ll be 6 sessions over the 2 days and a Party:
Saturday:Worldwide disability (11.30 - 13.50)
Reflecting disability on TV (14.30-17.00),
Disability a go-go (19.00-21.00)
Let’s get drunk @ Chat’s Palace! (21.00-midnight, Chat’s Palace, 42-44 Brooksby’s Walk, Hackney, London E9 0208 533 0227)
SundayLifting the lid! (12.00-13.30)
Stephen Dwoskin retrospective (14.30-16.10)
Disability & sexuality (19.00-21.30)

Session: £8 / £5 concessions
Day Pass: £15 / £12 concessions
Festival pass: £25 / £20 concessions
For more information on the festival visit the website on:
Or you can call Caglar (pronounced Chaalar) or Julieon 020 7 691 4203 or 0207 916 5484 , fax 0207 916 5396 minicom 020 7691 4201 .


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