About the festival

X international inclusive festival Breaking Down Barriers will take place from 26 to 30 November 2020. Viewers will be able to watch free of charge the best Russian and foreign full-length and short-length films, fiction, documentaries and animation films about people with disabilities, as well as some works shot with their direct participation.

This year, due to the difficult epidemiological situation, our festival will be held in a mixed format: online and offline. All films are provided with Russian subtitles, audio description will also be provided.

The offline screenings will take place at the KARO Sky cinema 17, in the Aviapark shopping and entertainment centre from 27 to 29 November. Registration for each session is required due to the 25% occupancy limit. Every offline screening is available for 100 people only. The registration for offline screenings will open no later than November 24, you’ll find the links on the festival website. All precautions and regulations on social distancing will be followed in the cinema. Visitors will be allowed to attend the screenings only wearing masks and gloves; sanitizers will be provided.

Free online screenings, as well as the opening ceremony, discussions and workshops will be held from 26 to 30 November on the film festival website. To watch the films, please register. The films will be available for watching during all festival days from 26 to 30 November. You can freely connect to all broadcasts of discussions on the festival website and on YouTube. Additional registration will be opened for workshops. The schedule of discussions and workshops will be published no later than November 24. All discussions and workshops will be provided with sign language interpreting.

Online screenings will feature both well-known films and new works. For example, The Peanut Butter Falcon – a worldwide famous film where Hollywood stars, such as  Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson acted. This is the true story of a guy with down syndrome that has inspired thousands of people. The leading actor Zack Gottsagen became the first person in the world with down syndrome who has  a specialized acting education. The festival will also show the best film for children according to the Toronto international festival The Witch Hunters that tells a story about a brave boy with cerebral palsy; a fascinating love story Mind My Mind about a guy with autism and many other films that have won international recognition.

In 2020, the festival received a record number of applications: more than 900 films from 56 countries. Among them, the organizers selected 50 best films that will compete in 15 categories: best film that breaks stereotypes, most life-affirming film, best film about the rights of people with disabilities, best actress and actor, etc.

Breaking Down Barriers is a unique festival for our country. The films shown at the festival tell us not only about the life of people with disabilities but also clearly demonstrate their unlimited abilities and a huge variety of interests. The participating films are made to change the attitude towards people with disabilities in society showing that everyone is important as a person, regardless of a disability.

The film festival has been held by the regional society of disabled people Perspektiva for 20 years. Since the first festival year, viewers have seen more than 700 films from all over the world (the USA, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand and many others). In Moscow alone, more than 25000 people have attended the screenings.

Denis Rosa, director of the Breaking Down Barriers film festival and the regional society of disabled people Perspektiva:

“Although we say that the festival is dedicated to films about people with disabilities, in fact, it’s just about people – about their destinies that are so different, about their relations, feelings, and, of course, it’s about love. This is the most important message of our film festival – to show that people with disabilities are like everybody else: they also want to have an active and interesting life, they want to fall in love, make friends and be creative.”

John Alpert, American journalist and documentary film maker, a member of the Breaking Down Barriers Jury:

“People with disabilities belong to the most numerous minorities in both, Russia and the US. The films help us better understand these people, their contribution to society. Our society becomes better and stronger if each member can equally contribute to it. I’m glad that this festival gives us an opportunity to watch a lot of very good films”.

Andrey Raikin, journalist, Director, screenwriter, chief editor of the information broadcasting Service of the TV channel Kultura:

"I have been a member of the organizing Committee and the selection jury of Breaking Down Barriers festival for several years now. And I can’t help being surprised by the huge number of talented, unusual, masterly shot works on the most complex topic – the life of people with disabilities."

In 2020, film Director Vladimir Kott became the Chairman of the festival jury. The jury members are also Alexey Chupov, Natalia Merkulova, Irina Vasilyeva, American documentary Director Jon Alpert, animators Ivan Maksimov, Sergey Merinov, Mikhail Aldashin, journalists and film critics Yegor Moskvitin, Lisa Surganova, Maxim Zagorova and others.

Categories of the X International film festival about the life of people with disabilities Breaking Down Barriers:

  1. Best full-length film;
  2. Best short film;
  3. Best documentary full-length film;
  4. Best documentary short film;
  5. Best animation film;
  6. Best film that breaks stereotypes;
  7. Most life-affirming film;
  8. Best film for children;
  9. Best film about rights of people with disabilities;
  10. .Best director;
  11. Best cinematography;
  12. Best actor;
  13. Best actress;
  14. Special prize from the jury chairman;
  15. Jury prize;
  16. The audience award.

In addition to film screenings, the festival will host interesting discussions that bring together film directors and characters, film university students, representatives of public organizations. Together they will discuss the films and the problems they raise.

The international inclusive film festival Breaking Down Barriers is supported by the ministry of culture of the Russian Federation, the Presidential Grants Fund, the Moscow department of labor and social protection, the embassies of Israel and Australia in Moscow, the Czech center in Moscow, the embassies of Switzerland, the USA, Canada and Australia in Russia, as well as the MTS company.