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23-Apr-2014 10:48pm PDT  


Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival and Short Film Competition

11 Annual October 17, 2014 to October 18, 2014

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316 W. 12th St. #405
Austin TX 78701
Phone: 512.478.3366
Fax: 512.478.3370

OPEN CALL FOR ENTRIES • Select a Category of Entry to continue.

Non-documentary entries are fictional and can be of any genre, including comedy, music video, animation, historical fiction, science fiction, horror, and even silent film.
A documentary film reports a factual account of a disability or a person with a disability.

Each year, the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival strives to challenge viewers to examine the portrayal of people with disabilities in film - to challenge negative stereotypes and to champion realistic portrayals of people with disabilities as fully dignified human beings with the potential to live full and productive lives.

The short film competition is your opportunity to share your view of disability with the Cinema Touching Disability audience. We want interesting, imaginative, and creative representations of disability on film. All filmmakers, including professional independent filmmakers, amateur filmmakers, and secondary and university students of all ages are invited to submit their own representations of disability in a short film.

In 2004, CTD staffer William Greer had an idea: “We need to create a film festival to counter negative stereotypes about people with disabilities and to celebrate positive portrayals of disability culture. Since cinema plays an important role in American culture, film is an effective medium to reach and engage a large and diverse audience.” That year CTD held its first annual Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival, screening and discussing films that illustrate how well, and how poorly, people with disabilities are portrayed in motion pictures. Since its foundation, it has grown to be the longest running and most successful disability film festival in the state.

The Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival broke ground from its first year. Attendees viewed the very first cinematic portrayal of disability: The Fake Beggar, an 1898 short by Thomas Edison. CTD also premiered Shattering Stereotypes on Mt. Everest. This documentary tells the story of the award-winning Team Everest '03, the first team of people with disabilities to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Gary Guller, the team leader and the first person with one arm to reach the top of Mt. Everest, introduced this film at the festival.

Since its inception, Cinema Touching Disability audiences have enjoyed a wide variety of short and feature films, television series, and web series, from documentaries to animation pieces to silent films. In addition, CTD works each year to expand the festival by bringing in special guests and incorporating extra features. In 2005, the Festival featured What's Eating Gilbert Grape, preceded by an exclusive interview with star Darlene Cates. Several years later, Dr. Temple Grandin granted CTD an exclusive interview, which the festival screened in conjunction with 2009 feature Temple Grandin. This interview also earned CTD a prestigious Barbara Jordan Media Award. Other special guests include Tim Sharp, Australian creator of Laser Beak Man (2010), and Dave Alan Johnson, creator of Canadian television series Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye (2011, via Skype) , among a host of filmmakers, documentary subjects, and film scholars.

In 2007, CTD introduced the Student Film Competition to the Festival, giving high school and college students an opportunity to share their own viewpoints about disability through film. As the festival has grown in acclaim and as the competition has evolved, participation among young and emerging filmmakers has increased dramatically. Expanding the age range of entrants and incorporating an online submission system has allowed us to accept and screen short films from all over the world! The grand prizewinner in 2012, for example, came all the way from Iran.

After ten years, many awards, and countless feature and short films, Cinema Touching Disability has found a happy home in the Austin film and disability communities. There is still much to be done to break down the barriers that face filmmakers with disabilities and the disability community in general, and the festival is proud to be at the forefront of these efforts.

To be considered, an entry must meet the following requirements:

1. Must be received by 12:00am Friday, August 29, 2014.
2. Must be between 3 and 20 minutes long (not including credits).
3. Must be submitted in .mp4 format. No other formats will be accepted.
4. Must be subtitled.
5. Must NOT have been previously submitted to the Cinema Touching Disability Short Film Competition.
6. Must either be about, star, or be made by a person with a disability.
7. Entries that are demeaning or discriminatory will not be considered.

Entries will be judged by the following criteria:
1. Did the film address disability in a creative way?
2. Was disability represented in an interesting, 3-dimensional way?
3. Were disability stereotypes avoided or countered?
4. How thought provoking or challenging is this film regarding disability? This might include how informative the film is, whether it presented new ways of thinking about disability, and/or raised interesting points about it.


1) I give the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) permission to display my film(s), excerpts from my film(s), or images taken from my film(s) at the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival. 2) I give the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) permission to display my film(s), excerpts from my film(s), or images taken from my film(s) at future CTD events and public performances. If permission is not granted, I will contact the Festival directly. 3) I understand that other than the rights explicitly granted here, I retain all rights to my film. 4) I affirm that I have signed releases from all actors (or their legal guardians) in my film(s) and I will produce them at the request of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.