Business Disability Forum’s Film challenge is back for its fourth year and open for registration. The competition seeks to explore assumptions around disability and offer a fresh perspective. Over the years the competition has helped to showcase the work of talented young film makers, whilst also providing the first step to greater film making success, for many.

As Disability Media Partner for the competition and festival, Able takes a look at some of the stories in front of and behind the lens of this creative competition. We begin by looking at previous winners. We also look ahead to this year’s event taking place at the BBC’s Radio Theatre in London.

Our stories are worth telling

‘Identity through the lens of disability’ was the theme for last year’s challenge. The competition was won by Team Wolfpack (also known as Samuel Ash and William Horsefield) with their entry ‘Same Difference’. The film explored Samuel and William’s differing and shared experiences of deafness and how film making helps them express who they are. The pair wanted to show deafness in a positive light and convey the message that deaf people can achieve anything they like.

The duo, from the University of Wolverhampton, had won the competition, previously, with their 2017 entry.

Speaking about the competition, Samuel Ash, said:

“It was great being able to create a documentary around identity. This gave us the opportunity to share both of our differing experiences – our stories surrounding deafness are worth telling. Winning the award meant a lot to both of us. It showed recognition for this important topic.”

As well as having their film premiered at Business Disability Forum’s London Film Festival to an audience of business leaders, the pair also won work experience with a film studio and equipment.

Samuel has since graduated from university with a first-class degree in film and television production. He has worked on multiple documentaries and a short film and has just secured a role within a television production company.

Going places

Miguel Ramos and Bettina Roth (Team Diversity v Adversity) were the winners of the 2018 film challenge with their entry ‘Kenny Rei and the spicy ladies’. The theme for the year was ‘Going Places’. The film was about living with ADHD and the achievements of one man as he navigates, with humour, a day in the office.

Since winning the film challenge, ‘Kenny Rei and the spicy ladies’ has gone on to win the educational category of the 2019 Picture This… Film Festival in Canada. It was also nominated for the comedy and entertainment category of the 2019 Royal Television Society (RTS) Student Awards.

The 2020 film challenge

Business Disability Forum’s 2020 film challenge is now open for registration and the non-profit disability and business organisation is calling on all budding young film makers to sign up. The competition is open to anyone over the age of 18, who is in full-time or part-time education.

The disability related theme for this year’s challenge will be announced on 20 March 2020. Film makers will then have just 10 days (until 30 March) to make and submit a short film on the topic. All entries will be judged by a panel of leaders from the world of TV, film, and disability.

Winning and shortlisted entries will have their films shown at Business Disability Forum’s London Film Festival on 10 June. The BBC will be hosting the event at Broadcasting House at the prestigious Radio Theatre, London.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum, said:

“The film festival is a great opportunity for young film makers to show off their talent by providing their own take on disability in 2020. We are pleased to see that so many of our past winners and finalists have gone on to greater success in the film industry. It is an honour to be part of their story.”

For further information about the challenge, to watch past winning entries and to register, go to #DisabilitySmart #BDFFilmFestival.