Oska Bright Film Festival

Showcasing the very best of learning disability cinema.
Lizzie Banks, Oska Bright Film Festival Producer

The festival takes place every other year and in its “off” year the festival tours around the UK and the world.

In its eighth edition, Oska Bright Film Festival ran over three days (15 – 17 November 2017), showing more than 60 films from all around the world, with over 3600 people attending. If you’d like to see what was on, take a look at the Oska Bright programme.

The festival is programmed, managed and delivered by a team of learning disabled film enthusiasts. This year’s festival included a new Young People’s Day in conjunction with Arts Award, the UK Premiere of Sanctuary, a new LGBTQ+ strand and Q&As and presentations with filmmakers from around the world.

Project overview

Why the project matters

We’re constantly looking at screens, our phones, the TV, computers. Imagine not seeing someone like you on screen for the majority of your life. What about not relating to people portrayed in the media everyday? This is the reality for most learning disabled people.

34% of the public said they’d seen someone with a learning disability in a TV drama or comedy and 12% said they’d seen someone in a film in the past six months. There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK and we see a variety of people every day in the real world, so why isn’t that reflected on screen?

Oska Bright Film Festival puts people learning disabled people where they should be, behind the camera and on the screen.


  • To support the very best film and artist moving image work made by learning disabled artists to tour and reach new audiences (experience seekers)
  • To enable partner venues and festivals to diversify their programme, and diversify their audiences
  • Provide sector development in access, inclusion and attitudinal change for learning disabled cinema and learning disabled audiences
  • To bring increased learning disabled audiences to cinemas and festivals across the country – connecting venues with the learning disabled community

Headline results


  • Over 3,600 people attended our festival in 2017
  • We screened over 64 films
  • 13 countries were represented
  • Oska Bright picked up the award for Best Event in the City at the Brighton & Hove Business Awards 2016
  • 41% of attendees at the festival cited seeing the films as the main reason for coming to the festival, showing the real appetite for this work.

Touring Activity

  • Reached 4,000 people in our last tour year
  • Worked with over 50 venues
  • Screened over 65 films made by learning disabled artists


We have an archive of over 5,000 films made by learning disabled artists from around the world. We have screenings available on to hire DCP, blu ray and DVD.

Films are curated into packages including Discover Oska Bright – aimed at young learning disabled people, Animations, Queer Freedom, Dreams, Portrait of the Artist, and a variety of documentaries in Window Into Our World.

If you’d like to hire films, visit the Oska Bright website to find out how.

Key partnerships

We work with festivals and venues across the country. Key partners have included Encounters Short Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Cinecity, House Festival, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Tate Modern, Tyneside Cinema and more.

Learning outcomes

What worked?

Spending time talking to our audience, and finding out when they could come out – when they had suitable support, if needed. We spent time researching audiences and connecting with the gatekeepers in the community to get people there.

What didn’t work?

We’ve noticed when touring that screenings in the evenings and weekends are tricky to get people to. There is less support for people at these times and it’s harder for learning disabled people to get to these events.


  • Learning disabled people accessing opportunities to gain work experience and jobs in the film and creative industries.
  • Films by learning disabled artists that feature in the festival become part of the touring package. These films are shown all over the UK and the world.
  • Continuing the opportunities for filmmakers to exhibit their work and find new audiences for their output.
  • Setting the standard for learning disability film and inspiring more learning disabled people to start making films.
  • Participating venues were able to connect with a learning disabled audience and keep them coming back.
  • Recognition in the wider film industry of the skills and value of learning disability film.
    An increased offer of partnerships with national film and media organisations.
  • Artists being able to connect with other film festivals and finding new platforms for their work around the world.