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Echoes of the festival ‘Breaking down barriers’

1 August 2015


Sunday, August 1, 2015
14:00 – 17:00 

This program of screenings is compiled from the best films in Breaking Down Barriers, an international film festival co-organized by Russian disability non-governmental organization Perspektiva Center and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. Through cinema and art, the Festival aims to portray the rich potential and varied lives of physically handicapped people, and help older people with disabilities in Russia to become more active by showing them how disabled people in other countries manage to live a full and meaningful life. People tend to forget that it is so much not the illness, or difference of physically handicapped people that conditions their “disability,” but society itself. Breaking Down Barriers invites viewers to understand the difficulties that disabled people encounter, their outlook on life, and the opportunities they have.

Since the first year of the festival in 2002 Breaking Down Barriers has screened over 600 films from 46 countries, attracting a total audience of 15,000 viewers in Moscow alone. Over this period, jury memebers have included figures like Vadim Abdrashitov, Irina Bezrukova, Vladimir Menshov, Andrei Eshpai, Alexander Mitta, and Artur Smolyaninov.

The films are translated into Russian and subtitled for the hard of hearing. There is an audio description for sightless people. The screening room is accessible for wheelchairs users.


Macropolis (2012), UK. Directed by Joel Simon. Duration 8’.

This animated film is the story of two toys discarded from the production line due to imperfections. Coming to life, they rebel and chase after the factory delivery van in the hope of rejoining their friends. Lost in the big unfamiliar city, they are overwhelmed by the challenge ahead.

Maria's Journey (2010), Spain. Directed by Miguel Gallardo. Duration 6’.

Maria's Journey is a small excursion into the inner world of an autistic girl, a journey full of color, love, creativity and originality. It begins with the process of understanding experienced by her parents, who witness their daughter behaving differently prior to the confirmation of her diagnosis. 

A Ginger Sheep (2013), Israel. Directed by Rona Soffer. Duration 12’.

Nuni and Matan were crazy in love when they were young. Together, they marked the walls of Jerusalem with graffiti. Nuni painted sheep, writing: “Sheep in exchange for free love.” But things changed when Nuni became ill. The doctors had to remove her leg. She became detached from her friends and left Jerusalem. Years later, she meets Matan again, who is still in love with her, convincing her to paint “one more sheep,” for old times sake. Life for Nuni isn’t what it used to be; can she prove herself to be a strong woman in spite of her disability?

Bastion (2014), UK. Directed by Ray Jacobs. Duration 10’.

Just before closing time, a completely bald man walks into a barber’s shop. Reflections in the window have told him it’s time for a haircut.

Frances and Annie (2009), Australia. Directed by Genevieve Clay-Smith. Duration 9’.

When a young woman drops by to greet her new neighbors, her preconceptions about who is responsible for a horrendous tragedy hinge on a face and a note.

The interviewer (2012), Australia. Directed by Genevieve Clay-Smith & Robin Bryan. Duration 13’.

Thomas Howell gets more than he  bargained for in his interview at a prestigious law firm: an insult about his tie, a rendition of Harry Potter and the chance to change the lives of a father and son.

Trublya (2014), Russia. Directed by Andrew Miteshin. Duration 14’.

An optimistic story about the life of a person with disabilities in a village.

10’ break.

Despicable Words (2009), Poland. Directed by Marcin Maziarzewski. Duration 28’.

Peter is a professional sound engineer who suffers from the disease Tourette’s Syndrome, which manifests itself, among other things, in the uncontrolled shouting of dirty words. This is a tragicomedy about a man in search of romance, who struggles with his own limitations.

300 secs (2013), UK. Directed by David Hay & David Ellington. Duration 20’.

This documentary tells the story of Adam Evans, a deaf fighter, as he shares insights about his schooling experience, his family life and future plans. Despite his age, he is determined to pursue his dream of joining the high-risk sport, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), where he will face tough challenges and challengers.

Clay (2012), France. Directed by Michaël Guerraz. Duration 19’.

Alex is posing. An elderly lady is sculpting. It would be a normal situation if the lady wasn’t blind, with only her hands to “see” – wrinkled hands that she lays on the naked body of her young model. Alex is going to experience an unusual posing session.

The Butterfly Circus (2009), USA. Directed by Joshua Weigel. Duration 23’.

At the height of the Great Depression, the showman of a renowned circus leads his troupe through the devastated American landscape, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. During their travels they discover a man without limbs being exploited at a carnival sideshow, but after an intriguing encounter with the showman, he is given new hope.

Vorstadtkrokodile (2009),  Germany. Directed by Christian Ditter. Duration 100'.
One of the main characters in the story is Kai, a paraplegic boy who is new to the area and who wants to make contact with others his own age. One day he meets Hannes from the Crocodiles and eventually becomes a member of the gang himself. Not all of the group’s members are keen on bringing a disabled boy into their gang. However, due to Kai’s cleverness and wit, he is accepted. Eventually, the boys and the one girl member, Maria, become good friends and appreciate one another.


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