Three films, with nuanced and sensitive insights into the issue, won the top spots at the fifth edition of AbilityFest

Three films that sought to provide nuanced and sensitive insights into issues of disability beat over 280 entries to bag the top spots at ‘60 seconds to fame!’ — a film competition at the fifth edition of AbilityFest 2013, India International Disability Film Festival.

The fest — ‘Cinema by, with and about people with disabilities’ — organised by Ability Foundation saw 45 of the 284 entries making it to the final round, actor Revathi said.

Sensitive, thought-provoking and humorous films from 13 countries were screened during the four-day event, which came to a close on Thursday. There were seven Indian films including Tamil film ‘Haridas’ that was screened for the first time with an audio description.

A jury comprising director Mani Ratnam, Malayalam director Ranjith Balakrishnan, cinematographer Sunny Joseph, founder of Ganga Trust and Spinal Care S. Vaidyanathan and assistant film director Sangeetha Gala selected the three best entries for the film competition.

The first prize of Rs. 1 lakh went to the film ‘Charades’ for conveying the message of inclusion through a snippet from everyday life, while the second prize of Rs. 75,000 was awarded to the film ‘My brother Navneet’ for a simple and emotional depiction of the way children look at life without prejudices. The film ‘Perspectives’ bagged the third prize of Rs. 50,000.

The jury’s special mention award went to the film ‘The Perfect Fit’ for depicting inclusion in a humorous and contemporary manner.

While acknowledging that quality of film-making was improving, Ms. Revathi stressed the need for film-makers to learn more about disability. Cinematographer Sunny Joseph said film-makers should also look deeper into the truth and enhance their understanding of various issues.

Jayshree Raveendran, founder of Ability Foundation, said the fest aimed at showcasing the beauty of cinema to everyone.

“The foundation is a bridge between people with and without disabilities. A person with disabilities should be accepted as a friend, colleague and member of society. There is a need to meet up and understand. This festival serves as a platform,” she said.

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