Sunday, 14, August, 2022

In June, São Paulo hosts the innovative Accessible Kids Film Festival

São Paulo will be the first city in the country to host the innovative Kids Accessible Film Festival – in the service of educational inclusion, which was recently approved for the 36th edition of Criança Esperança. The project, which has the Unesco seal, brings visually impaired, hearing-impaired and intellectually-impaired children closer to the seventh art, and shows how education, culture, technology and solidarity can be agents of transformation and social inclusion. 

The project was born seven years ago in Rio Grande do Sul, as an Accessible Film Festival, conceived by entrepreneur and musician Sidnei Schames, Sid, president of OSC Mais Criança (the proponent of the project) and director of the company Som da Luz. Right at the premiere, in 2015, his son, David, then eight years old, could not enter the cinema, because he was not old enough. Overwhelmed, he exclaimed: “my father created an Accessible Festival for others; but it is not accessible to me!”. Soon after, he turned his indignation into a project: “Dad, how about we also create a festival for the children? I already have a name and slogan: 'Acessible Film Festival Kids, take your father to the movies!'” This is the project that was launched in 2017 and now leaves the limits of Rio Grande do Sul and conquers the country, embodied by the training of teachers from public and private schools at the service of educational inclusion. 

In São Paulo, the project will take place at the club “A Hebraica” (Rua Hungria 1000, Teatro Arthur Rubinstein), on June 6th and 7th and in two CEUs on the 8th, also in June. On the first day in Hebrew, from 9 am to 3 pm, there is a workshop for educators. The next day, the movie “Malévola” will be shown at 9 am and 2 pm. The film will be shown with audio description, Libras and descriptive subtitles. Admission is free, but registration is required by email. [email protected] On the 8th, the project will go, with the support of the Municipal Education Department, at 10 am to CEU São Rafael, at Rua Cinira Polônio, 100, Conjunto Promorar Rio Claro; and at 3:30 pm at CEU Meninos, at Rua Barbinos, 111, in the neighborhood of São João Climaco. In both CEUs, the film shown will also be “Maléfila”. According to Sid Schames, 20 managers from the Municipal Department of Education will participate in the Workshop for Educators on the 6th in Hebrew.  

In addition to São Paulo, the Accessible Kids Film Festival will be this year in Natal (from August 8th to 10th), Brasília and Campo Grande (dates still undefined). 

According to Schames, the “Accessible Kids Film Festival – at the service of educational inclusion”, has the support of Bem Promotora and Total Seguros, and in São Paulo SEDPCD (State Secretariat for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), the Secretariat of Cultura de São Paulo, the Municipal Education Department, Grupo Chaverim, Clube “A Hebraica” de São Paulo and Studio Z.  

To date, in its adult and children's versions, the Accessible Film Festival has been watched by around 15,000 people in 34 cities (32 in Rio Grande do Sul and two in Santa Catarina), in 88 in-person presentations, the last one in beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, in March 2020; in addition to four online in the last year.

The Kids Accessible Film Festival brings as a differential the adaptation of children's cinematographic works, but which are successful with the whole family. It offers accessible quality content for a portion of the population deprived of the right to have access to the magic of cinema. Cultural inclusion actions for the public of people with disabilities are rare and, when they exist, invariably assistentialist.

According to Schames, the films have an audio description of the scenes for those who cannot see, a Libras window for those who cannot hear and descriptive subtitles for those who do not know Libras. “To reach movie screens with all the accessibility necessary, everything is recorded in the studio. It takes technology and a lot of sensitivity”, he says. He adds: “We are all different, but we can share the same movie theater. In the sessions, there is the visually impaired father, with the son who can see; the hearing-impaired daughter with the listening mother, children with intellectual or mental disabilities…and everyone is having fun together inside the cinema”. David, now 15, says: “We created the Festival for everyone to be the same. Not equal in the sense of having the same characteristics, but the same rights and possibilities. It’s a moment of inclusion for everyone, people with and without disabilities, to watch the film.”

When David and Sid talk about people without disabilities, they are also referring to who goes to the exhibitions as an exercise in learning and empathy. “We did sessions in schools, where children watch the movies with their eyes closed to feel what a world without images is like. Thus, these students put themselves in the position of the Other and learn to understand and respect differences”, reflects Sid. 

For 2022, there are many plans. With the participation in “Criança Esperança” and the support of “Bem Promotora” and “Total Seguros”, the project will travel first, as mentioned at the beginning of the release, to Natal, Brasília and São Paulo. In addition to the films, there will be workshops for educators. “If we manage to contribute with educators to provide the reception in an adequate way, we will be fulfilling a very important function, since we will increase the speed of this change in society. If we show that inclusion is perfectly possible, it becomes natural. We are part of an important story, on the path of accessibility, of everything for everyone”, says Schames, who hopes to attract more cities and supporters as the project becomes more popular.

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