The Marthas Vineyard Film Festival, in collaboration with seven community organizations, hosted the first annual Disability Film Festival in August. Three nights, three films, live music, interviews with disability activists, and a lot of fun.
“Partnering with the IDC, Kat King (of King Inclusion Consulting), and other disability focused Island organizations was a wonderful experience,” said Jenna Robichau, MVFF Education Coordinator. “Each organization was open to providing feedback for every aspect of the festival planning and we were able to remain flexible in these COVID times!”
Working together, sponsoring organizations provided volunteers for each of the three nights, a truly inclusive group of all ages and abilities. While the event itself was successful in bringing community together to celebrate disability on the big screen, the impact goes far beyond.
Planning for the festival involved considering overall accessibility, a process in which Kat King helped by sourcing community feedback on what improvements and accommodations were necessary for the event to be welcoming to all. Best practices in accessibility were incorporated into the festival weekend, and into the mindsets of MVFF leadership and staff. Such tips and techniques will ultimately extend an even more comfortable and accessible experience for all moviegoers.
During the festival, Rick Guidotti, founder of Positive Exposure and held private photo sessions with members from the community. Positive Exposure is a nonprofit that promotes inclusiveness through photography, videography, and exhibitions. TMVFF Productions Director, Ollie Becker, joined to interview each of the participants to learn more about their life here on the Vineyard. Using the footage from this event, TMVFF will be creating an exhibition that will kick off the 2022 festival and will share the beautiful images and interviews from the participants.
“We are looking forward to next year’s festival,” said Robichau. “Our goal is to continue to create space for discussions and panels surrounding the needs of the disability community to help live on a more inclusive island. These conversations will be paired with fun films, music, and food and will be open to all islanders to come learn and celebrate!”
Pictured above is Brian Ditchfield – MVFF Artistic and Executive Director, and patrons dancing to the sounds of DOCK DANCE BAND prior to the closing night film BEST SUMMER EVER.