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Deaf actor Bethany Robinson in rehearsals | © Pippa Samaya
Deaf actor Bethany Robinson in rehearsals | © Pippa Samaya
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Guide To TOFF, Australia's Leading Deaf And Disability Film Festival

Picture of Monique La Terra
Updated: 28 September 2016
The Other Film Festival, also known as TOFF, is Australia’s leading deaf and disability film festival, presented as a part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival with Arts Access Victoria. Established in 2004, TOFF aims to dispel misconceptions about the deaf and disabled community, with films that showcase the creativity of deaf and disabled filmmakers through an authentically powerfully voice that celebrates the lived experience. Here’s our guide for what to expect this year.

Wednesday, September 28th

‘Is Australian TV more diverse and inclusive than our screen industries?’ – The festival’s opening night includes a forum discussion on the diversity of Australian television versus the diversity of the Australian film industry. The panel will be conducted by Kath Duncan and will feature CEO of Arts Access Australia Emma Bennison, award-winning filmmaker Sofya Gollan, actor Kate Hood and Executive Director of Arts and Disability Ireland Pádraig Naughton.

The opening night will also feature three screenings of films from the program, including DisAbility, which is the story of three disabled women from the Gaza strip have the strength and courage to peruse their dreams, Home Care Before Christmas, a comedic story about home help service in a dystopian future, and Let Me Know, which follows 18-year-old Maja whose exploration into adolescence is questioned by everyone around her because she has Down syndrome.

DisAbility Linda Paganelli Courtesy of TOFF
DisAbility | Courtesy of TOFF

Thursday, September 29th

‘Festival In A Pod: Individual Screenings’ – Using a fully accessible screening pod, viewers will be able to access five films from the festival’s program. These films include: The Attack of the Robots from Nebula-5, a visually spectacular, seven minute sci-fi film where ‘alienation meets alien invasion,’ The Globe Collector, an Australian documentary that follows Andrew Pullen’s all-consuming quest to collect light globes, Super, an Australian comedy where a team of super heroes save a local supermarket, Autism In Love, a revealing American documentary about a happily married man who is ‘proudly autistic’ but can only mask his behavior for a limited time, and Living in Space, a compelling insight into schizophrenia which uses animation to blend reality and imagination. ‘Festival In A Pod: Individual Screenings’ will also be available to experience on Friday and includes captioning and audio description.

‘Leadership Through a Different Lens’TOFF’s second forum will explore the role of leadership in the arts and culture industry and question ‘whether disability leadership is always best in arts and disability organisations.’ The panel will include Veronica Pardo, Executive Director of Arts Access Victoria and Emma Bennison, CEO of Arts Access.

‘#deaftalent: The Power of Authentic Casting’Led by Deaf American filmmaker Jules Dameron, this is a free talk on the #deaftalent movement and the importance of authentic casting.

‘Look at Me’The second day of TOFF film finishes off with the film session ‘Look at Me,’ featuring Bruno Mars ‘The Lazy Song’ in American Sign Language, created with a 100% deaf cast and crew, Cuckoo Molars, a comedic gangster story, The Quiet Ones, a British murder mystery about a teacher at a Deaf boarding school, Retreat, a gripping drama about the fringes of society where obsession takes over reason, Ingelore, a moving film about a German Jewish Deaf woman during WWI, and Longhand, which sees ‘a hard-of-hearing woman’ struggling to pursue a military career.

Cuckoo Molas
Cuckoo Molas | Courtesy of TOFF

Friday, September 30th

Dan and Margot – With unprecedented access, this documentary follows Margot, a young woman struggling to cope with the aftermath of her schizophrenia and the three years she lost to the illness.

Dan and Margot | Courtesy of TOFF

‘What Are You Looking At?’ – Featuring five films including DisAbility, Home Care Before Christmas, Let Me Know, Gimpsey and Resilience, ‘What Are You Looking At?’ presents thought-provoking short films about the lived experience of the deaf and disabled.

Gimpsey | Courtesy of TOFF

‘Our World, Our Shorts’ – This film session will present ten films of six minutes or less from emerging Australian filmmakers. Laugh out loud with the comedies All of the Above, Chop Secret and Mrs Bean and the Security Guard, be inspired by the documentaries The Stars, Listening Eyes at Manus, Nauru and Ballarat – My Town, and be moved by films that are both challenging and powerful, including Mum’s Place, The Darkness, Archie and The Auslan Music Video. These screenings will be followed by a Q&A panel discussion with filmmakers Simon J. Green and Brigid Canny.

Archie Courtesy of TOFF
Archie | Courtesy of TOFF

‘Don’t Look Away’ – Providing an introspective look at what it means to be Deaf are four diverse films that deal with family and acceptance. The series features Here & There, Two Worlds, Hear and Now and Møkkakaffe.

‘Q&A: I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar’ – Acclaimed American Deaf filmmaker Jules Dameron and Melbourne-based Deaf actor Bethany Robinson will discuss the challenges faced by Deaf women in the film industry, the absurd assumptions that confront them and the importance of feminism for Deaf women.

The Other Film Festival, State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, +613 8664 7000