The International Disability Film Festival Wants to Hear from Blind Film Lovers

International Disability Film Festival logo

The San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visualy Impaired and the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University are the new co-hosts of Superfest, the world’s longest-running disability film festival.

This year’s Superfest, to be held on October 12, 2013, at 3543 18th Street, San Francisco, California, will “…take a powerful look backward to explore the worst of the worst in the film representation of disability. We’ll feature many telling examples of how far we’ve come, and we’ll highlight the worst of the worst with The Dissies, a new trophied award.”

A Superfest History

The California-based International Disability Film Festival, known as Superfest, is the longest-running festival of its kind in the world. After its developmental years in Los Angeles in the 1980s, it was transferred to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998, where it operated as a project of Culture! Disability! Talent!. Annual Superfest film festivals were held in Berkeley from 1998-2011.

Here is additional Superfest background information from a Culture! Disability! Talent! news release:

Culture! Disability! Talent! (CDT) announces the passing of the Superfest torch to Catherine Kudlick, Director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University (SFSU) and Bryan Bashin, CEO of the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind.

Much of 2012 was spent developing plans for carrying forward with Superfest International Disability Film Festival, now that the members of the core group are retiring, relocating, or pursuing other passions. We invited a number of Bay Area disability culture specialists to tell us what they thought were the essential elements of Superfest and who had the vision, talent and energy to take it to the next level.

We were soon led to Catherine Kudlick, Professor of History, SFSU, who became Director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability in August 2012… [T]he late Professor Longmore was a disability arts and culture leader who mentored young filmmakers and participated in Superfest to support their efforts.

[Professor] Kudlick introduced us to another new star in the Bay Area firmament, Bryan Bashin, the CEO of the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, who oversaw development of its new accessible video conference center, completed in 2012. The new leaders like the idea of challenging society’s assumption that blind people can’t participate in film creation, production, appreciation, and critique.

Together, they have committed to continuing an annual Bay Area-based festival that will showcase juried films of artistic excellence that portray disability or reflect on issues from a disability point of view.

They are looking to expand the traditional film festival experience to include more fringe or experimental aspects, such as animation, television treatment of disability issues, collaborative events with film schools, a research room where students and film aficionados can tap into a disability film collection, and a “film camp” where film lovers can spend long weekends at an accessible retreat evaluating new or classic productions.

More about Superfest 2013

The new organizers want to hear from you as they design the award categories, including those for The Dissies:

  • What are the scenes or performances that made you most likely to throw a tomato at the screen?
  • What little-known films or vignettes do you wish were never committed to celluloid?
  • What scenes, dialogue, and costumes – new and old – make you glad we’re living in 2013?

You can submit your comments and nominations on the Superfest “Dissie” nomination page or via email to Emily Beitiks at The deadline is June 30, 2013. The hosts will tabulate the results and prepare them for viewing, along with captions and audio description.

Thank You!

Thank you to the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability for continuing this wonderful tradition. And readers – let’s nominate!