WOMEN | LGBTQIA+ | DISABLED | ETHNIC MINORITIES
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Vertical Healing Yunqing Guan Having grown up with colour blindness and autism, Freddie has developed rock climbing as a way of life, healing himself in the “flow” and giving back to the disabled community through it. The topic of the film coincides with the third of the Sustainable Development Goals, Good health and well-being. In the current society, inequalities in health care access still persist. By safeguarding the vulnerable and raising awareness in the community about the importance of good health and healthy lifestyles, we can create a sustainable future together.
Saving art Remi R.M. Moses My 5 year old niece was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2015 and given 18 months to live. I found myself confused and hopeless that doctors could just one day tell a person they were going to die in a matter of months, let alone a five year old. Luckily, she gained remission after 30 days of chemotherapy but one of the most inspiring things to come from her experience, was the act of love shown by her parents. To fight this darkness with happiness and joy when people can so easily and justifiably shrink. The stories I would hear from the children’s ward where those of pure innocence, where kids had no idea what was going on and made up stories about their illnesses (a lot of the time, because of their parents)… The thought of adults projecting their own preconceptions and fears of cancer onto their kids inspired me to tell this story about what happens when you choose to fight the darkness with joy. I think its an important story to tell to spread more awareness about kids with terminal illnesses and parents suffering with grief or the anxiety/anticipation of death.
Sahan Shakti (Fortitude) Chandni Brown Exploring themes of migration, gender and arranged marriage, this short ethnographic documentary follows the life of Hina, a 60 year old twice-migrant living in the UK, as she begins to rebuild her life post-divorce. By shedding light on the gender roles and expectations of women that are still prevalent around the world, shared across many countries and cultures, the film highlights some of the internal struggles that over half the global population still face in their day-to-day realities. What does it mean to be a woman? What aspirations and expectations can she hold for herself? Who gets a say in defining her future? Through a quiet contemplation on the South Asian diasporan experience, Sahan Shakti explores the silent strength of women in negotiating their own personhood and exercising individual agency. In developing these ideas, the filmmaker delves into her own family experiences and intergenerational relationships, working with her mother and grandmother, to highlight how we might break these cycles and better understand how we have been shaped by the women who came before us.
A Day with Anxiety Lillie Bailey Anxiety is a familiar word, one which seems hard to escape in todays pandemic stricken world. It affects 300 million people worldwide from all walks off life, in a myriad of different ways. It can be a debilitating all consuming destructive mental illness, which affects both sufferers and their carers alike. A day with Anxiety helps to educate people on the torment and often hidden effects of anxiety and how challenging it can be on a daily basis for the sufferer, delivered in a satirical but equally empathetic way. Engaging the audience to give a better insight into the mind of a sufferer. Giving people a better understanding of anxiety will hopefully enable them to reach out and encourage help and support through various different channels.
‘I Would Like to Live on the Moon’ Emily Burke ‘I Would Like to Live on the Moon’ is about a young non-binary person who feels overwhelmed and wants to escape today’s busy and stressful world – literally, to the moon. Made primarily for young non-binary and trans people, my film aims to help viewers connect with themselves and not feel so alone in a world that can often feel stacked against them, in which it seems like the only solution is to escape. Trans people are human beings who deserve love, safety and security – together, we can work towards making this a reality for all. I felt it was important to make a film that illustrates how vital it is to support those around us as we cannot sustain a world where empathy, kindness and safety are not a priority or where mental health support is abandoned. I hope my film will help everyone who watches it, no matter who they are and where they are in the world, to reach out to loved ones and feel like they can talk to someone when the world gets too much.
Futurism Shadowlight Artists As a video art piece, “Futurism” by Shadowlight Artists is inspired by the art movement Futurism, which began in Italy in the early 20th century. The film was produced with Film Oxford for the “Captured Moments” project exhibited at “Modern Art Oxford” in December 2022. The film showcases what learning-disabled and autistic people can achieve when given the appropriate support and resources. By bringing isolated learning-disabled and autistic people to Film Oxford to be creative together and making high-quality work exhibited in professional galleries and festivals, the project boosts the participants’ self-esteem, improving physical and mental health outcomes and reducing inequalities. The issues highlighted in your film are relevant to everyone, no matter where they live. Addressing these issues is our shared responsibility to ensure a safe, secure, and sustainable future for all. Promoting inclusivity and diversity through art can help reduce inequalities and create a more equitable society.
Fu Guo (The gay nation) Zhitong Li Our film Fu Guo delves into the sense of disconnection felt by transnational Chinese queer individuals in the UK and explores the gap between cultural expectations and the reality of living in a foreign land. It touches on the universal themes of identity, acceptance, and the challenges of navigating dual cultural landscapes. Instead of offering a perfect solution, this film raises questions about the ways of embracing oneself, challenging the narrative of fitting in as an immigrant. The essence of our film resonates with the universal human desire for belonging and understanding. In an increasingly globalised world, migration, cultural exchange, and the quest for personal identity are experiences shared by many. The feelings of alienation and confusion are not limited to the LGBT community or Chinese students in the UK; they are sentiments that can be felt by anyone who has ever felt out of place or misunderstood. By uncovering the often underrepresented narratives, our film fosters understanding and empathy between social groups, and stirs up conversations about intersectional identities and social inclusivity to contribute to a more sustainable future.
Two faced Stephen McGowan Always an outsider (of place, gender and sexuality) Lucy is much more than just her appearance, and your projection. Hidden complex emotions emerge after a life spent fulfilling other people’s fantasies. A love letter to all the brave Queens I knew in the 90’s. Lucy is much more than just her appearance, and the projection of others. Hidden complex emotions emerge after a life spent fulfilling other people’s fantasies.
Typical? Sarah Leigh Frustrated by how they are treated, a group of disabled individuals challenge the narrative, and barriers, that society has placed upon them. Typical? is a social impact film told verbatim by people who have lived experience of disability. It’s a universal story that highlights how society often treat disabled people and what we can all do to make our world more inclusive. We’re excited for this selection as inclusion and diversity is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and our film showcases an underrepresented and marginalised group in the UK and in the world.
UNCAGED Saman Khan Uncaged charts the story of EL Sam, a queer British Syrian Musician and poet who fled the Syrian war at the age of 15 alone. The documentary explores how societal/religious pressures and parental rejection affects the mental health of a young person who was wired from a young age to believe that being queer is a defect. It explores a personal duality that arises from experiencing two acutely different cultures post immigration. Ignorance and stigma surrounding the queer community remains a huge issue globally. Intense inner conflicts and self-acceptance becomes an insurmountable challenge for many, including Sam. Queer people in the diaspora have an additional burden of seeking acceptance from two cultures and Sam’s story showcases that. Due to conflicts occurring all over the world and the spotlight in politics on immigration and the LGBTQIA+ community it is more essential than ever to highlight stories of immigrants/refugees, particularly those who are a part of the queer community. There is also a need to understand the universal challenges that queer people in the diaspora experience at a profounder level. For now, the choice is harsh and double edged – to declare one’s queer identity, often means sacrificing family bonds, religious identity and risk becoming outcast in the homeland. Instead of pitting Western Liberalism against other Conservative societies in a wrestling match, there is a need to unite in a two-way dialogue, based on understanding and respect for all cultures, to find effective ways to eradicate ignorance surrounding the queer community.
Tomorrow May Rain Baran Yakut It’s the middle of summer and two young men want to be alone together, the trouble is that their friends won’t leave.
Trans- formation Joel Gonzalez Prades A documentary about a trans man and his secrets in life. “Trans-Formation” is a compelling short documentary that follows the life of Samuel Williams, a young trans male, as he shares his personal journey and experiences. The film provides a moving and enlightening glimpse into the challenges and triumphs Sam has faced on his path to self-discovery and acceptance. Through interviews, candid moments, and delicate storytelling, viewers gain a deep understanding of the struggles Sam encountered, from coming out to dealing with societal and family prejudices and personal identity battles. Sam’s story is not just about being a trans person; it’s a universal narrative of human resilience, growth, and the pursuit of self-authenticity. His experiences and insights provide valuable lessons in empathy, compassion, and the importance of supporting individuals through their personal transformations. This documentary is relevant to everyone, regardless of their past experiences, family, religion, and race, because it highlights the shared human experience. It serves as a powerful reminder that understanding, respecting, and embracing diversity is essential for fostering an inclusive and compassionate society anywhere around the world. Addressing the issues raised in “Trans-formation” is a shared responsibility for ensuring a safe, secure, and sustainable future for all. By speaking up on the challenges faced by trans individuals, this documentary encourages viewers to recognize the importance of inclusivity and the need to combat discrimination and prejudice. Sam’s story reminds us that acceptance and support can empower individuals to grow, which ultimately benefits society. In a world where diversity should a strength, not a weakness, this documentary motivates us to stand up for inclusivity and work together to create a more equitable and compassionate world for everyone living in it.
That’s Life Kasra Firouzyar In our short film, ‘That’s Life,’ we delve into the dilemma of a millennial London couple facing the daunting question of whether to start a family amidst the looming spectre of climate catastrophe. This narrative mirrors the profound uncertainty many individuals around the world grapple with today. Our story unfolds against the backdrop of never-ending crises, symbolised by an unexpected encounter with a thief who embodies the impending catastrophe. The two main characters reflect the critical choices humanity faces in the 21st century. They highlight the clash between pessimism and optimism. As the couple’s journey unfolds, we demonstrate that only by reconciling these opposing forces can we hope to navigate the challenges ahead, mirroring Gramsci’s wisdom: ‘Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will.’ ‘That’s Life’ compels viewers worldwide to confront their own roles in shaping a safe, secure, and sustainable future for all. The film reminds us that addressing these issues is not just a personal choice but our collective responsibility as global citizens. It’s a call to action for everyone, regardless of where they live on this planet, to unite and forge a path toward a brighter and more resilient future.
Dog Run Lorna Nickson Brown In Dog Run, a silent man, Jan, is lifted out of a life of exploitation through an unexpected bond with guard dog, Sabre, and the healing power of nature. Our film highlights the symbiosis between humankind, animal species, and the shared natural environment. Dog Run has equality at its heart, a value which I and my team have worked hard to instil in our film and in its process of creation. In an increasingly unequal, unjust and fragmented world, the film speaks of values so often overlooked – kindness and equality between all things.
Glass Roots Carys Lewis-Watson Our short documentary ‘Glass Roots’ follows the journey of Joe the creator of the sustainable juice business Mejuicer. We get a look into one man’s journey to try and make a better world for his community through showcasing how a small business can make a significant impact through sustainable practices. It highlights the importance of responsible consumption, eco-friendly packaging and circular economy models. Joe’s approach serves as a universal example of how individuals can contribute to a safer, more sustainable future for all. It emphasises that the choices we make as consumers by choosing what businesses to support can have far-reaching impacts on the environment. It champion’s small business and shows the success of one person to inspire others to follow their passions and make a proactive decision in creating a better future for the planet. ‘Glass Roots’ Is about Joe and Mejuicer’s sustainable practices which serves as a compelling example of how small businesses can lead the way in responsible consumption and sustainable production. It reminds viewers of the collective responsibility we all share in ensuring a safe, secure and sustainable future for everyone on the planet.
GHANIMAH Sai Karan Talwar Recent statistics published by the Ministry of Defence indicate that there are 650 Muslims serving in the UK armed services and of these, 550 are in the British Army, constituting 0.5% of the total. Highlighting an interesting and controversial subject that hasn’t been covered widely in the media. Our key motivation for this project was to shine a light on Islam, which tends to only be represented in terms of violence and hate. The Quran is much denser and more complicated than what is interpreted and presented in the modern media, and in some cases even when presented with sympathy, it is inherently vilified. In the world we live in today, it goes unsaid how relevant the topic is and the resonance it will have with an audience. Via our characters we are exploring why certain ideologies around Islam exist and the angst that surrounds these given interpretations. We see so few quality projects about the non-white British experience, it feels like every story about Muslims centres on a young person being radicalised, these are perpetual two-dimensional stereotypes for ethnic minorities. We are looking to expand the scope of what it means to be an immigrant in the UK through this narrative. To the extent, where we had to independently finance the project on a very low budget and shoot in one day in order to get the film made.