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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lighthouse For the Blind Wants You! Superfest 2015 Accepting Submissions

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 12:25 PM

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"Superfest is the oldest disability film festival in the world," says Jennifer Sachs, Director of Development at the San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind.

She tells us that Superfest has been around since the 1970s, and until recently the annual event was run by a group in Berkeley.

"They needed to pass the torch," explains Sachs. "Two organizations stepped in, the Paul K. Longmore Institute at San Francisco State University and the Lighthouse. This is our third year."

The first year, Sachs recalls, was put together in a hurry, so the Lighthouse folks decided to have a little fun. On October 12, 2013, disabled folks and friends gathered in The Women's Building for "The Dissies."

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"We didn't have time to get submissions," adds Sachs. "So we asked the community to submit the worst representations of disability on film there was. We sold out."

They showed hilariously bad performances of non-disabled actors in disabled roles. Examples included the blind hermit in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein and the politically incorrect Richard Pryor/Gene Wilder comedy See No Evil, Hear No Evil. There was much laughter as the audience enjoyed the absurdity of it all.

This year's Superfest might have a more serious tone.

"There will be a panel of judges from the disability community," says Sachs. "[We're] looking for films that encourage people to think about the disabled community in a new way."  

Audiences can expect films about disability issues and themes by disabled filmmakers and/or featuring disabled actors. And one can never know what to expect from year to year. Last year's Superfest featured Crutch, an adult film. 

"Superfest is completely accessible,"  adds Sachs. "We have live signing and captioning for the deaf, and audio descriptions for the blind." Wheelchair accessibility is also included. 

While Superfest 2015 won't commence until November, with a kickoff event at San Francisco Lighthouse For the Blind —  submissions will be accepted until March 15.

There's a $40 submission fee, which is reduced to $20 if the film is low budget or submitted by February 15. Sachs invites filmmakers to visit the festival's official site for submission guidelines and instructions.       
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