Superfest International Disability Film Festival


SUPERFEST International Media Festival on Disabilities is an annual media festival produced by Culture! Disability! Talent! (CDT). SUPERFEST honors works that positively and realistically portray the disability experience or warrant technical merit. The following contains a list and description of the award winners of SUPERFEST XXIV (2004).

For more information about next year's festival, please contact us at [email protected]

Superfest XXIV Award Winner's List

Best of Festival

Awards of Excellence

Achievement Awards

Merit Awards

Description of Award Winners

BEST OF FESTIVAL: From the BBC series Desirability - JULIA'S BODY
As a child, Julia Trahan's body was crushed by a truck. In a coma for months, enduring years of surgery and rehabilitation, Julia found a secret key to survival: the power of sexual pleasure to transcend pain and hold her broken body to life. As an adult performance artist, Julia uses her imperfectly exquisite body as both medium and message to create performances that celebrate the power and sensuality of the female "body different", confronting traditional perceptions of disability, beauty and gender. Produced by Claire Fisher for Desirability, a BBC series about sexuality and disability, this 30 minute documentary is an engaging and evocative portrait of one remarkable woman's life and art.

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: From the BBC series Desirability - WOUNDED HEALER
Also produced by Claire Fisher for the BBC series Desirability, Wounded Healer is a full-faceted and exuberant portrait of Pamela Walker, a free spirit with a disability from Berkeley who counsels people with and without disabilities about coming to terms with, and celebrating their sexuality. Fisher's artistic blending of a variety of material provides us with a seamless 30 minutes of insight and entertainment.

This intimate 53 minute documentary about the complex friendship between a disabled, elderly Holocaust survivor and a disabled, German disability researcher was produced by Edna Kowarsky and directed by renowned Israeli filmmaker Shahar Rozen. Romanian-born Perla Ovitz and her family, most of whom were of short stature, survived the German concentration camps only because the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele wanted to use them for experiments. Following the war the family moved to Israel. German born Hannelore Witkovsky, also short statured, is investigating what happened to people with disabilities in the camps. Shot in Germany and Israel, Liebe Perla explores two women's very different lives with exceptional sensitivity and depth.

San Francisco artist John Killacky pushes the artistic envelope with this riveting, impressionistic short that explores the dissonance between the dream of blithe movement and the reality of chronic pain. Driven by a strong, poetic narrative, Dreaming Awake is a breathtaking 5:30 minute rollercoaster ride, ratcheting emotional highs with sensual black and white dance sequences, then hurtling us to the lows with stark images of intense pain and debilitation.

In this innovative short (6:35 min.), director Nick Pentzell utilizes a multi-media approach to give viewers a sense of what it is like to have his form of autism.  Produced by Gwen Waltz, Outside/Inside is a successful and informative film about a widely misunderstood condition. A U.S. film, Outside/Inside also earned the SPIRIT OF SUPERFEST Award in recognition of outstanding achievement by an individual with a disability who is significantly involved with the making of the film.

Oakland, California, teems with people from diverse communities, many from African-American descent who are struggling to survive.  Talk to Me  documents the varied experiences of three families who have children with autism. The 28 minute film makes it painfully clear how important it is to squeeze the system to obtain services. Producer Vanessa Kaneshiro employs an original and engaging approach of having one of the siblings act as narrator.

Producer Jennifer Raikes' enlightening and comprehensive 57 minute work is a documentary about an obsessive compulsive disorder called trichotillomania. Affecting both children and adults, this relatively unknown disorder has a wide range of hair-pulling behaviors from over-tweezing eyebrows to causing complete baldness.  Through a series of interviews guided by a narrator who now has control of her compulsion, Bad Hair Life offers personal insights and brings hope and support where there once was isolation and shame.

MERIT AWARD: From the BBC series Desirability -VERA CAM
This 30 minute presentation documents the life of an artist who uses sexual fantasy, a web-camera and a bathtub as props for her various personae. Vera loves life, and her upbeat, matter-of-fact, in-your-face style is infectious. Sexually and artistically provocative, this work provides a rare opportunity to examine the issue of "devotees" from the artist's perspective.

An unusually realistic approach to producing an access report card of a city, It?s Our London shows us where progress has been made but points out where work still needs to be done. Producer Lois Acton gives us a fast-paced 23:33 minute overview from the point of view of a diverse group of Britons - including a blind parent who can now enjoy movies at the local theatre with her child due to the newly-available descriptive video services.

Ugandan and Kenyan women who need wheelchairs gather for a 10 day course on how to make them themselves, and Lawan Jirasuradej, a Thai filmmaker, is there to document it. The workshop is supported by Whirlwind Women, a San Francisco based organization.  Lawan first became intrigued by the project while based in the Bay area. The 57 minute piece also examines the lives and significance of the new mobility of a few of the African women.

Produced by InfoUse, a U.S. disability research firm based in Berkeley, Open Futures is a wide-ranging overview of the very different kinds of jobs now held in California by persons with physical and mental disabilities. This 11:00 minute short zooms in on people from diverse backgrounds and a multitude of disabilities.

For additional information on the films and producers, please contact us at [email protected].

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