Associate Director Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, San Francisco State University
Director of Communications, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Superfest International Disability Film Festival 2017 Line-up
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (JULY 14, 2017) – Superfest International Disability Film Festival is thrilled to announce its 2017 line-up! From 167 submissions, the 15 films featured in this year’s festival bring a new breadth of creativity, perspective, and geography to Superfest. We’re screening films shot and produced in 9 countries—Myanmar, Colombia, Germany, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Canada, Italy and the United States. From Vietnam’s Rhizophora, an artistic short about the lasting effects of Agent Orange to Canada’s The Barber of Augusta, a true story about a superhero barber—we can’t wait to share them all with you this fall.
Superfest 2017 Line-Up
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4, AFTERNOON
CHIEF Directed by Amir Jaffer
United States, 2016, Documentary Short
This reverent ode to the service dog tells the story of German immigrant Sonja Ohldag, who is diagnosed with a seizure disorder after moving to the U.S. in 1999. Unable to afford a service animal from an organization, Sonja trains her dogs herself and takes a chance on Chief, who is not your average service dog.
MIND/GAME: THE UNQUIET JOURNEY OF CHAMIQUE HOLDSCLAW United States, 2015, Short Documentary Directed by Rick Goldsmith
Basketball superstar Chamique Holdsclaw faced six felony counts, the possibility of prison and public attacks on her character. Her rollercoaster attempts at recovery from near suicide reveal an uphill battle against the stigma of psychiatric disability and show a deep journey that is powerful, revelatory, instructive and real.
WHEN BRENDEN MET HIROE
Directed by Steve Mayer-Miller
Australia/Japan 2016, Documentary Short
A photographer from Australia returns to Japan to reunite with his friend Hiroe, who he met at
a blind and deaf/blind workshop the year before. The pair spends an unforgettable day
THE BARBER OF AUGUSTA
Directed by Michèle Hozer
Canada, 2016, Documentary Short
Liane Yasumoto’s Jury’s Choice Award
Toronto native Matthew Genser goes to great lengths to find his unexpected superpower:cutting hair. Like all superheroes, he has a dark side; but in his costume, he’s invincible. Put on your cape and get lined up!
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4, EVENING
Directed by Nwaye Zar Che Soe, Mine Aung Lin Tun, Pyae Zaw Phyo
Myanmar/Japan, 2014, Documentary Short
Disability Justice Award
A young woman born with a disability searches for a career despite rampant discrimination. She travels to Japan where she finds strength in disability activism and community, and returns home with a newfound sense of pride.
ON THE OUTS: REENTRY FOR INMATES WITH DISABILITIES
Directed by Jordan Melograna
United States, 2016, Documentary short
“On the Outs” follows three inmates with disabilities as they prepare for reentry, get
discharged and navigate the challenges of returning to their old lives. Produced by
the Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities (AVID) Prison Project, this documentary scrutinizes the prison institution and its treatment of inmates with physical and emotional disabilities.
STAB: LIFE AS A VOODOO DOLL
Directed by Jeanette Castillo
United States, 2017, Animated Short
An animated comic medical memoir dedicated to all those who live with chronic illness or disability. Writer and director Jeanette Castillo pairs her tongue-in-cheek personal account of living with Type 1 diabetes with criticism of the American healthcare system.
Directed by Andrew Keenan-Bolger
United States, 2016, Short
Two men meet on a train—and a tender and unspoken love story unfolds. Through vignettes,music and sign language, “Sign” follows the relationship between Ben (hearing) and Aaron
(Deaf) as they navigate life’s milestones side by side.
IN CRYSTAL SKIN
Directed by Michaela O’Brien
United States/Colombia, 2016, Documentary Short
Best of Festival, Short
In Bogotá, Colombia, a charismatic 11-year-old named Maria lives with the limitations imposed by a rare skin disease. Her fierce bond with her mother is tested and strengthened as they struggle to preserve Maria’s swiftly passing childhood.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5, AFTERNOON
LEFTY & LOOSEY
Directed by Zico Abrar
United States, 2016, Fictional Short
In this techy ode to film noir, two amputee veterans turned private investigators uncover adiabolical plot and must overcome their fears to crack the code and save the world.
Directed by Julia Metzger-Traber, Davide De Lillis
Germany/Vietnam, 2015, Documentary Short
Forty years after the Vietnam War, the toxic remnants of Agent Orange have not faded. In this dreamlike meditation on the impact of war and the resilience of humanity, “Rhizophora” follows 11 disabled Vietnamese youths on a whimsical, poignant, and whirling journey through a day in their lives.
Directed by Cheng Zhang, Reid Davenport
United States, 2015, Documentary Short
This documentary follows the lives of a deaf couple with hearing children and the
an unexpected outlet that brings their family closer together.
Directed by Riccardo Di Gerlando
Italy, 2016, Short
A sharply-dressed young man with Down syndrome sneaks out of his house to visit an art
museum and causes a disruption. Through humor and irreverence, this film reminds us that art
can be interpreted by everyone, not just the “experts.”
THE CHILI STORY
Directed by Patty Berne
United States, 2014, Animated Short
P.K. Walker Innovation in Craft Award
A true story about desire and the arousal of taboo on a BART train.
Directed by Rob Rooy
United States, 2017, Documentary Feature
Best of Festival, Feature
After being abandoned by his birth parents, DJ found a loving family and a life in words
through a text-to-voice synthesizer. Told by DJ himself, “Deej” was filmed over six years in the American Midwest and chronicles his journey to become Oberlin’s first non-speaking, autistic student.
Superfest International Disability Film Festival is the longest-running disability film festival in the world. Since it first debuted in a small Los Angeles showcase in 1970 it has become an eagerly anticipated international event—co-hosted by San Francisco’s Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University.
For more than 30 years, Superfest has celebrated cutting-edge cinema that portrays disability through a diverse, complex, unabashed, and engaging lens. Superfest is one of the few festivals worldwide that is completely accessible to disabled filmgoers of all kinds.
This year’s festival will take place on Saturday, November 4 at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life and at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on Sunday, November 5. All films will be presented with captioning and audio descriptions.
“The unique thing about Superfest is that it’s driven entirely by the disability community ourselves,” says Bryan Bashin, CEO of the Lighthouse for the Blind “Our jury is 100 percent composed of people with disabilities.
Throughout the process of screening, organizing and presenting the films, the Bay Area’s vibrant disability voice is loud, playful and strong.”
For more information visit superfestfilm.com.