'We Care' film fest salutes spirit of differently abled

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Indo-Asian News Service

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) A blind painter fills her canvas with different hues of life, a wheelchair-bound woman does a startling dance, and a cerebral palsy patient uses his pen as an outlet for his imagination. The 'We Care' film festival that began here Wednesday was a collage of such heartening real life stories.

The two-day film festival, being held at the India International Centre, is an attempt to sensitise society towards disability through films.

Showcasing 38 films from India and abroad, the festival attracted social activists, theatre personalities and students amongst others.

Satish Kapoor, festival director, said films were a strong medium to relay important messages and therefore the 'We Care' film fest aimed at spreading awareness about disability.

"We have some brilliant films in the festival which very poignantly show that society should not look at a disabled person with sympathy because he can do whatever he wants to do.

"Look at the blind painter or the dancer on wheels...it's the strength of the mind that matters," Kapoor told IANS.

One of the films in the five-minute category was "Frog Song". The animation shows a frog that sings differently from the rest of the group. After the initial raised eyebrows, the group slowly accepts him and they realise that the different sounds that he makes actually makes for a better song.

In the one-minute film category, "Dark" by Indranil Goswami was a hard hitter. A situation is shown in which there is a power cut and a blind man moves around comfortably looking for a candle.

On finding the candle, he lights it for those who can see, giving the message that the strength of a visually impaired person lies in his or her ability to see in the dark.

The foreign category included films from Greece, Israel and Germany.

"You wanted to make a film?", an entry from Israel is about a couple, both wheelchair-bound because of a polio attack in childhood, and their zest to live life to the fullest.

The filmmaker, who is disabled, shows how she got over her fear of being unable to bear a normal child while filming, when she saw this couple having a ball with their grown up son and the woman giving a stellar dance performance with him.

Phillip O'Keefe, lead social protection specialist of the World Bank, who is here for the festival, said that a study across India revealed that like elsewhere, the mindset of people was very negative towards the disabled.

"And the most surprising thing is that in maximum number of cases, the family members of a disabled person share the same feeling...and many times, so do the disabled people themselves because of lack of opportunities in employment et al," he said.

"Therefore who are these films aimed at? Not just one section of society, but all," O'Keefe added.

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