Breaking down barriers. The 9th International Disability Film Festival



All events are open to the public and will be held in the Almaz Movie Theater Café.


Friday, November 23

Workshop with Kim Saltarsk: How to Make a Documentary about Disability.

Kim Saltarski is a writer, producer, and director of over 400 hours of original animated and live action family, reality, and documentary TV programming. His broadcasts have been featured on Nickelodeon, CTV, Comedy Network, Disney Channel, Global, Discovery Channel, BBC Kids, Cartoon, Fox Family Channel, and Fox Kids. His documentary film Andre the Anti-Giant is appearing in Breaking Down Barriers IX. This is a story about the lifelong struggle of a person with Morquio syndrome - a rare inherited birth defect that causes walking problems.


Master Class with Ray Jacobs.

Ray Jacobs is a producer and screenwriter specializing in short films, dramas, comedies, and cartoons. Ray is an experienced performer and director in the field of dance. He has a wealth of experience in leading successful inclusive dance- and performance-based projects. Since 2012, Ray has worked with Shropshire Inclusive Dance, facilitating workshops, supervising projects, and directing the company alongside co-director Rachel Liggitt. He states, “I aim in my work to create movement and image [not really sure what image means in this context] which steps quietly into the human heart.”


Discussion: Protecting the Rights of PWDs in Theater, Television, and Cinema.

Participants: Len Collin and Nick Kelly (Ireland); Heidi Jance and Heidi Huddrel (Canada); Cammal Mammadov (Azerbaijan); Mikhail Roshkanyuk (The Czech Republic); Connor and Brian Long, Sebastian Pake, and Brandon Mendenhall (USA).

Saturday, November 24  

Musical Theater Masterclass with the Reuters.

Kim and Russ Reuters are British actors and musicians, and founders of the Shabang! Theater. In 2000, their son Ruben was born with Down Syndrome. In spite of that, the boy grew up to become an actor. My Life, starring Ruben Reuter, is appearing in Breaking Down Barriers IX. This film is about kids with Down Syndrome: their lives, interests, and love of life.


Discussion: Actors with Disabilities in Theater and Film.

Participants: Ruben Reuter, Kim Reuter, and Russ Elias (UK), My Life; Arthur Hyghes (UK), Sweetwater; Ray Jacobs (UK), A Bridge Between Us; Martin Van Polen and Scott Van Pollen (the Netherlands), Scott + Julia; Eric Uddenberg (Sweden), The Girl, the Mother and the Demons; and Connor and Brian Long (USA), Learning to Drive.


Meeting with Director Nick Kelly.

Irish director Nick Kelly’s film, The Drummer and the Keeper, is appearing in Breaking Down Barriers IX. This is a story about the bipolar drummer of a rock band. After giving up his legal career, Nick’s professional life has largely been devoted to creative and artistic endeavors. Nick Kelly will talk (and sing!) about youth films and rock’n’roll during a live musical performance called SEE:HEAR.

Sunday, November 25

Discussion: A Person with a Disability is a Member of My Family.

Irena and Amar Sattarov and Moran and Reut Zakshevsky (Israel), My Hero Brother

In most cases, we learn about the lives of families of people with disabilities from the parents of disabled children. But there are also brothers, and sisters. What do their lives look like? What do they think about their lives? And what about the children of disabled parents?


Lecture by Phil Borges.

This lecture is about the film Crazywise, and about how indigenous cultures around the world identify “psychotic” symptoms. Borges is a human-rights photographer from the US who has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures for over twenty-five years. His work is exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and he has published several award-winning books. He has hosted television documentaries on indigenous cultures for the Discovery and National Geographic channels. Borges also lectures and teaches internationally. His film Crazywise introduces what in the West is referred to as a psychological crisis and alternative methods of treatment..


Discussion: How to Educate Society to Accept Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities.

Participants: Phil Borges (US), photographer and director; Nelly Borisovna Levina (Russia), chairwoman of the All-Russian Society of the Disabled “New Opportunities”; participant to be determined (Russia), Center for Social Initiatives “The Russian House”; Julia Guerra (Russia), film director, Radio K; and Eric Uddenberg (Sweden) film director, The Girl, the Mother and the Demons.