“Nothing About Us Without Us” Tribute: Cinema and Disability at the Athens International Film Festival

21-14 September at Onassis Cultural Centre. FREE ENTRY


For the second time since the beginning of the Festival, the 23rd Athens International Film Festival will be including a special section titled “Nothing About Us Without Us”, Cinema and Disability in collaboration with the Movement of Artists with Disabilities  to take place at the Onassis Cultural Centre from the 21st September to the 24th September. 

This section is made possible through the operational programme “Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning” and is co-funded by the European Social Fund and national sources. This tribute is organised within the context of a series of anniversary events for the European Social Fund's 60 year anniversary.

Through the “Nothing About Us Without Us” tribute, special emphasis is placed on the way film approaches the subject of disability.

The Athens International Film Festival opens a window into a different reality keeping in mind the self-evident right that people with disabilities possess to an equal-opportunity society; a right to move around the city, to work and create and watch films in the same cinemas as everyone else.

It is with the above in mind that we present four classic films about disability as well as four films  never before screened in Greece.

The screenings will be followed by open discussions with concurrent interpretation in the Greek Sign Language and Lip Reading. All screenings in this tribute will be accessible to all and entry will be free.

Below are the films in the tribute, in greater detail:

DINA (2017, USA, 101') (PREMIERE)
Director: Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles

Dina and Scott, both with high-functioning autism, bear their hearts on camera before taking that
final commitment step, making this one of the most unexpected and honest romances to grace the big screen in recent years. 

Won the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary.

Freaks (1932, USA, 64')
Director: Tod Browning

The horror genre has never been defined by such strong visuals as the deformity of real-life “freaks”followed by the monstrous behaviour of those who torment them. The original subject of the film was responsible for ruining Browning's career, who dared to present something the world wasn't ready to see in 1932. “Freaks”, however, is generally considered to be one of the best films in the history of cinema. 

Following the screening, an open discussion will take place with disabled author and sociologist Andreas Kouzelis.

Director: Rachel Israel

David is autistic and is taken to a support group against his will. It is there that he meets Sarah, an
open-hearted girl who might change his life if he allows her to. Israel's award winning debut, which
thrilled audiences at the Tribeca film festival, is more than just an overturning romantic comedy set against a New York backdrop. It makes a decisive statement with regards to tolerance and human diversity.

An open discussion will take place after the screening with disabled psychiatrist –sexologist Stelios Kympouropoulos

STRUGGLE OF THE BLIND (1977, Greece, 90')
Director: Mary Hatzimihali-Papaliou

On the 2nd May 1976 about 300 visually impaired people took over the “Home of the Blind” demanding a policy change, as up to that point the establishment had been under control of the Archdiocese of Athens. For the first time in Greece, people with disabilities overcame their marginalisation and demanded that the government intervene while also trying to sensitize all citizens to their struggle. Mary Hatzimihali-Papaliou's documentary reached Europe making the struggle of Greek visually impaired people a matter for the whole of the civilised world to address.

In attendance of the director

CARRÉ 35 / PLOT 35 (2017, France, 67') (PREMIERE)
Director: Éric Caravaca

French actor Éric Caravaca tries to find out information about the sister he never met only to discover that every trace of Charlotte has been meticulously erased. Guilty family secrets and sinful stories of the French colonies are pieces of a puzzle of dark revelations and wounds that never healed.

An open discussion will follow with Giorgos Nikolaidis, Psychiatrist & Director of Mental Health and Welfare at the Institute for Children's Health.

DEFIANT LIVES (2017, Australia / USA / UK, 85') (PREMIERE)
Director: Sarah Barton

Activists with disabilities, in action. The Anglo-Saxon version of the fight of emancipated people and people without guardians, for social justice and a claim for their political and social rights achieved through the use of a significant body of archival material accompanied by a contemporary narrative next to well-founded interviews with academics and activists of the disability studies field. Sarah Barton's “Defiant Lives” constitutes a guide for the emancipation of disabled people around the world, and promises 90 rewarding minutes for all those fighting for dignity and justice.

An open discussion will follow with activists of the Emancipation Movement for the Disabled: “Zero Tolerance”.

MY LEFT FOOT (1989, Ireland / UK, 103')
Director: Jim Sheridan

An Academy Award success, starring the one and only Daniel Day Lewis in the role of the Irish author and painter Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy and who wrote his life's story with his left foot. Digitally restored version.

Director: Arthur Penn

The true story of author, political activist and lecturer (the first deaf and blind person to receive a degree in Fine Arts) Helen Keller who at 19 months old found herself deaf and blind and created a method of communicating with her environment through the tenacious efforts of her instructor Annie Sullivan. Arthur Penn (“Bonnie and Clyde”) transforms Helen Keller's life story into a sensational celebration of the will to live. Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won the Academy Awards for Actress in a Leading Role and Actress in a Supporting role respectively. 

*FIRST TIME screening in Greece with audio description of a foreign film. This will significantly increase accessibility to the cinema for people who are visually impaired. 

An open discussion will follow with Menelaos Tsaousis, Director of the Centre for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Maria Zeza, Head of the Kallithea School for Deaf & Blind (CERB).

The collaboration of the 23rd Athens International Film Festival with the Onassis Cultural Centre doesn't end here.

As part of the Festival's collaboration with the International Animation Festival + Agora – Animasyros and with the Onassis Cultural Centre, a special artistic project will be presented as well as a unique allegorical animated film for adults.  More info here.

Stay tuned for all of the news of the 23rd Athens International Film Festival at http://en.aiff.gr and www.cinemagazine.gr

The tribute's poster is designed by Vasilis Mexis

This section is made possible through the operational programme “Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning” and is co-funded by the European Social Fund and national sources.
It all comes under the National Strategic Reference Framework operational programme which deals with education and employment. Some of the aims of this effort are:
- to  develop and make use of the country's human resources
- to improve the quality of education, lifelong learning and to raise awareness about environmental education.
- to bridge education with the job market and
- to strengthen social tolerance and integrate vulnerable social groups