Love Bites – Oska Bright Festival, the learning disability Film Festival

August 1, 2020

Oska Bright Film Festival, the world’s leading learning disability film festival produced by Carousel, takes its programme to the small screen with Oska Bites, regular programmes of award-winning short films from the 2019 festival.
Presented with additional content and the chance to watch together live on Facebook, all the films featured in Oska Bites are made by, or feature in lead roles, people with learning disabilities, autism or Asperger’s. These are outstanding films that show often undiscovered talent and new voices.
To celebrate Brighton & Hove Pride, they present Love Bites on Thursday, August 6 at 7pm, live on Facebook and then on the Oska Bright website. Programmed by Matthew Hellett, who initiated the Queer Freedom LGBTQ+ strand of the festival, Love Bites is a pairing of films that explore the intersection of queerness and disability, followed by a love story in the most unlikely of circumstances.
The programme features screenings of Born To Dance With An Extra Chromosome, Enid & Valerie and Lost Ones. Matthew Hellett will talk about the Queer Freedom festival strand; appear in a Q&A with queer-femme film-maker and activist Mattie Kennedy; have a chat with Drag Syndrome, the world’s first drag troop featuring drag queens and kings with Down’s Syndrome; and give an introduction to Lost Ones, which won the Oska Bright 2019 Best International Film Award.
Born To Dance With An Extra Chromosome by Nikolay Nikolov is about Drag Syndrome, ‘superstars who have entirely changed the conversation about Down’s Syndrome and drag, encouraging us all to embrace our inner diva.’
Enid & Valerie by Matthew Kennedy and Vitoria Bastos is ‘a short venture into the dreams of lone spinster, Valerie, where she meets Enid (a witch). Could this be the start of an unlikely friendship?’
Lost Ones by Maria Castillejo Carmen, Maëlle Grand Bossi and Elizabeth Silveiro, is about a ‘supermarket at the end of the day. While a few customers are finishing their groceries, a hooded intruder breaks into the store.’
Matthew Hellett explains why the Queer Freedom LGBTQ+ strand of the festival is so important: ‘I had the idea for the Queer Freedom strand back in 2017. It opened up contacts for me including a creative partnership with Mattie Kennedy, an LGBTQ+ learning disabled filmmaker and writer from Glasgow.’
Mattie Kennedy said: ‘Finding out about Oska Bright was how I discovered learning disability film, I immediately felt at home.’

Matthew continues: ‘Mattie and me did a tour of ‘in conversation’ events talking about what it means to be queer learning-disabled filmmakers. The medium of film has helped me, it’s been a form of expression for who I am and what I represent. We’ve got to keep these conversations going, especially now in this Covid-19 situation.

‘You don’t hear enough stories about learning-disabled LGBTQ+ in the media, this is why we have to make our own stories, I’m proud of Queer Freedom and the impact that it has had.  
‘This year I’m missing Brighton & Hove Pride big time! I hope these films can bring a bit of colour and passion into our lives and help us celebrate together, they are all about love and acceptance, loving each other, your friends your family and yourself.’
Oska Bright 2021 
Oska Bright wants your films for the next edition of Oska Bright Film Festival. The team are looking for bold, beautiful and brilliant stories from filmmakers from around the world. They welcome any genre and accept feature films and shorts under 20 minutes.  For more info, visit their website.
Oska Bright Film Festival is produced by Carousel, an arts charity that helps learning disabled artists develop and manage their creative lives, true to their voice and vision, challenging expectations of what great art is and who can create it.  For more info, visit their website.