We Make Film – one year on!

From official selections at international festivals and media coverage, to recognition for the project (and film’s) impact and engagement, it has been really exciting to take the conversation on filmmaking and accessibility forward. We’re nowhere close to the change we’d like to see, but we’re getting there slowly and steadily!

The We Make Film project officially launched the next phase of impact and engagement at a flagship event series on 23rd and 24th July 2022 across India and the UK, supported by the Centre for Film Aesthetics and Cultures and the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Fund, University of Reading

On 23rd July, a hybrid accessible event of screenings and discussions the We Make Film team organised a hybrid event on ‘Disability, Accessibility and Filmmaking’ in New Delhi and Mumbai (in-person) and UK (online) in partnership with Kriti Film Club. The screening of two feature documentaries I Didn’t See You There (by Reid Davenport and We Make Film was followed by a panel discussion with contributions from the two directors as well as Anita Ghai, Prateek Vats, Priyanka Pal and Sumit Singh with the aim to facilitate a conversation across a range of perspectives – disabled and nondisabled, Indian and international filmmaking contexts, and academia and industry.

HUGE thanks to Aanchal Kapur and her wonderful team at Kritian Delhi; their excellent organisation and unending support in both Mumbai and Delhi was crucial to for making this event a success! Thanks also to our excellent panelists, wonderful audience members, ISL and BSL interpreters, live captioners and audio describers and India location partners Department of Special Education, SNDT Women’s University (Mumbai) and INTACH (New Delhi), without whom this event would not have been possible.

On 24th July, a participatory online consultation was held with filmmakers with disabilities based across several Indian cities, to ideate on the next steps for creating a network of disabled filmmakers and allies in India. After an initial round of introductions and a discussion of two international case studies of online platforms, the participant-filmmakers critically reflected on what would work best in the Indian context to bring opportunities and networks under one roof. The discussions took into account the diversity of creative practices across the many regional film and media industries, the intersectional experience of disability (in relation to gender, caste, class, language, etc.) and the overall context of digital access and accessibility in India.

We have taken the first step to connect filmmakers with disabilities in India to each other via a WhatsApp group, so if you identify as a disabled or d/Deaf filmmaker or an ally, and would like to join, please contact us via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter at the handle @wemakefilmindia.

*Some incredibly rich conversations on both days* – thoughtful contributions from panelists, engaged responses and questions from the audience and enthusiastic participation from disabled and d/Deaf filmmaker-participants.

Stay tuned for excerpts from the panel discussion recording and project updates in the coming months!

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