Winners of the Business Disability Forum’s Film Festival Challenge 2019 were announced yesterday evening at a prestigious event in London, hosted by KPMG. Entries from all five finalists were premiered at the festival.
The film festival, now in its third year, recognises and celebrates the talent of fresh, young film makers. The challenge has opened doors for previous winners and finalists, with many achieving greater success within the industry.
This year, film makers were set a challenge to produce and submit a short film in just 10 days in answer to the question “Identity through the lens of disability, what does this mean to you?”
Entries were judged by a panel of leaders from the world of TV, film, and disability. Five finalists were chosen to have their work premiered at Business Disability Forum’s Film Festival event, which was attended by leading names in business, including Shell, PwC, Barclays plc and Channel Four Television. Winners were announced at the event and awarded prizes including work placements with film production companies 1stAveMachine and Flare Studios, as well as cameras and equipment donated by Amazon, Shell and Enterprise Rent-a-car.
Winners and finalists of Business Disability Forum’s 2019 Film Festival Challenge 2019 are as follows:
1st Place - ‘Same Difference’, entered by team Wolfpack
2nd Place – ‘IV (Four)’, entered by team JRZ
3rd Place – ‘No Guesses Found’, entered by team ELK Medium
Highly Commended – ‘The only way’, entered by Valentina Catenacci
Highly Commended – ‘Unique’, entered by team Don’t Give Up!
All five films can be viewed at
‘Same Difference’ created by team Wolfpack
First place winning entry ‘Same Difference’ was created by Samuel Ash and William Horsefield (also known as team Wolfpack). ‘Same Difference’ is based on their experiences of deafness.
Samuel is a third-year student at the University of Wolverhampton. He will be graduating this September with a BA Hons in Film and Television Production. William graduated in 2018.
Speaking about their experiences of taking part in the film competition, Samuel said:
"The competition gave us the opportunity to share our experiences – who we are and our identity, using our best skills - video. When we reflected, we realised that we have achieved a lot in our lives. We wanted to convey that and create a positive film showing that Deaf people can achieve anything they desire. Our biggest challenge was editing down the film. We had to cut it down a lot."
‘IV (Four)’ created by JRZ
JRZ are Zoe Norgrove, Ritesh Vara and John Ford. Their entry ‘IV (Four)’ was awarded second place. The film explores the world from the perspective of someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Zoe and Ritesh are final year students at Staffordshire University, studying animation and advertising film and music video production. John is a recent graduate in Digital Film Making from the SAE Institute Glasgow.
Speaking about the Film Challenge, Zoe said:
"We entered the competition last year and enjoyed it so much that we wanted to do it again! It’s a great opportunity for us to stretch our creativity and convey our own personal messages in regards to disability. In our experience, it becomes so easy to doubt yourself and become defined by your disability rather than your own personality traits and we wanted to explore and hopefully show that in our film."
‘No Guesses Found’ created by ELK Medium
Georgie Cubin and Jane Leggat’s entry, ‘No Guesses Found’, was awarded third place. It explores how dyslexia affects people in different ways, showing that there is no universal experience of disability.
Georgie is a second year studying film production at University of Central Lancashire, and Jane is a third year studying film and sociology at Lancaster University.
Speaking about ‘No Guesses Found’, Georgie said:
"In my experience, most people have preconceptions, but few people understand disability as a lived experience if they do not experience it themselves. We wanted to breakdown these preconceptions and show that there is no ‘type’ of person with a disability. People of all ages and social backgrounds can be affected. We also wanted to make an experimental documentary, which explored this issue in both its content and construction. Editing in this style was a big challenge."
This year’s judging panel comprised of Oliver Kent, a former BBC producer, Neil Shanlin, Creative Director at Creative, Noeleen Cowley, Partner, Banking Operations and Customers at KPMG and Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum.
This year’s judging panel comprised of Oliver Kent, a former BBC producer, Neil Shanlin, Creative Director/Creative at AMV BBDO, Noeleen Cowley, Partner, Banking Operations and Customers at KPMG and Diane Lightfoot, CEO, Business Disability Forum.
Neil Shanlin, Creative Director/Creative at AMV BBDO, said:
"I was impressed with the overall level of work. Every single story was one that was worth telling and I saw respect for me as the viewer. The films were a great representation of what it is to be in Britain today."
Noeleen Cowley, Partner, Banking Operations and Customers at KPMG, said:
"The stories that are told through the videos serve as a powerful way to educate society and business on the realities of having a disability.
Oliver Kent, a former BBC producer, said:
"The quality was really high to the point that the technology and production [used to make the films] became invisible."
"Having just 10 days to make a film is really good practice for the real world of making shows."
Diane Lightfoot, CEO Business Disability Forum said:
"The standard of entries this year was exceptional. I have no doubt that this is just the start for all these talented young film makers and I look forward to seeing what they all go on to achieve in the years ahead. If you want to know more about what it is like to live with a disability, then watch these powerful films."
To watch all of this year’s winning films, go to https://businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/networking-and-events/tech-taskforce-film-festival/winners2019/
Film Festival goers were also able to enjoy an exhibition of photographic work by Helen Light and Laurie Glees, two students from Morley College, London.
Business Disability Forum is a not-for-profit membership organisation which exists to transform the life chances of disabled people. It does this by bringing together business leaders, disabled people, and Government to understand what needs to change to improve the life opportunities and experiences of disabled people in employment, economic growth, and society more widely. Find out more at www.businessdisabilityforum.org.uk #DisabilitySmart #BDFFilmFestival .