Films live and die by their stories; if you don’t have a story, you don’t have a film. In order for film to continue to grow and thrive, especially in Memphis, it needs new stories and new perspectives to re-tell old stories. The way you get new stories and new perspectives is through diversity and radical inclusion. Now, you wouldn’t make a film with a diverse cast, only to screen the film at whites-only festivals. That would be, at a minimum, disingenuous. Yet every year we screen our films at able-bodied-only festivals.
You cannot have inclusion without accessibility.
Therefore, the future of film is in accessibility.
Filmmakers, how much time and money do we spend perfecting the audio of our films? Days to weeks of editing and mixing, hundreds of dollars spent on software, plugins, and stock assets, even more if we hire an engineer in a studio. How long would it take to add subtitles to our films? A couple hours maybe? So why aren’t we doing it?
I suspect we just don’t think about it. We don’t think about it because we don’t see people in the disability community. And, we don’t see people in the disability community because our sets and festivals are not accessible.
It’s a vicious circle.
Festival directors, most theaters are closed caption and descriptive audio capable. What’s stopping you from making at least closed captions a requirement for submission? Why not add at least one accessible screening block to your schedule?
If Filmmakers and Festival Directors hold each other accountable, we can make film more inclusive and creative for everyone.