Close Encounters

PUSH ME has been sighted at a handful of events in the last month and  it’s been very exciting to guage people’s reactions to the first 12 short films in the PUSH ME Collection and to see what people make of them under the radar.

At DigitalBrighton on the 4th September we were able to show 3 of the films – Jez Colborne – subtitled, Claire Cunningham – audio described and Rachel Gadsden – straight up, in a seminar exploring the interface between digital and disability.  Our team knows from experience that film about the disabled experience has a default effect – where audiences tend to naturally compartmentalise the work.  Not so PUSH ME shorts.  As someone articulated from the floor,

How refreshing to see films about the disabled experienced presented with an artistry and subtlety, light years away from the usual brave or freak platitudes that we have all become accustomed to.

At the Encounters Short Film Festival in Bristol on the 20th September, we were able to show the full 12 from the PUSH ME Collection in different formats.   The post screening panel comprised of myself  Sarah Pickthall – co-curator, Sue Austin – one of our 12 PUSH ME artists, Sue Williams, Senior Officer Diversity – Arts Council, John Durrant, Director – BDH and Dick Penny from Watershed  – Executive Producer for the project  conversed with the audience beyond  compliance.

At both screenings, audiences lauded the keen directorial eye and how well the 90 seconds profiled each and every artist – acknowledging them as works of art: hugely gratifying for the team for which this was always an absolute priority.  Not only that, in the cinema the team noted that the films had interesting behaviours and effects with and without formats: at some moments slow and contemplative and other times shooting past and always but always slightly out of reach, like beguiling little asteroids no less!  As one audience member so deftly put it

I could have watched an hour of each artist. I just wanted more and more…

We always wanted these artist films to be seen in The Space and very much beyond.   To create a thirst for the work we were pushing, absolutely but it’s the unexpected traces they are leaving in their wake that are of so much interest to us all.