The Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival dispels common misperceptions about disability by showing films that portray people with disabilities in an accurate and interesting way. The feature films show that individuals with disabilities live the same sort of full and independent lives as all other people.

The short film competition is an important part of this festival. This competition gives filmmakers a chance to share their own short disability film with our audience. The films with the most imaginative and interesting portrayals of people with disabilities will both win prizes and be featured at Cinema Touching Disability.

We welcome submissions from all filmmakers, ranging from the professional to the independent, student, or amateur. The filmmaker may also be of any age, ranging from elementary school student to adult. We welcome entries from filmmakers who have a disability. You do not have to have a disability to submit.

Films may be entered in either the documentary or non-documentary division. Documentary films provide factual accounts of a disability or a person with a disability, while non-documentary entries are fictional. Non-documentary films can be of any genre. Past winners have included comedy, music video, animation, science fiction, horror, and even silent films.

The following prizes are awarded in each division.

• First Place: $500 USD
• Second Place: $250 USD
• Third Place: $100 USD

The top three winning films in each division will be shown at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas during the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival October 19-20, 2018. The films also have a chance to win the Audience Favorite Award.

Rules for Submission

Films must be received before 12:00 a.m. on Monday, July 30, 2018. The following requirements are mandatory for all submissions.

1. Each film must be between three (3) and twenty (20) minutes long. This only refers to the content of the film, it does not include the credits.
2. Each film must have subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. Filmmakers can wait until learning if their film is a finalist before adding these subtitles, but no film can either win or be shown at the festival unless it has subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. Every winning film, however, cannot be shown unless it has subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
3. The film may NOT have been previously submitted to the Cinema Touching Disability Short Film Competition.
4. The film must either be about, star, or be made by a person with a disability.
5. Films must not be demeaning or discriminatory about disability or people with disabilities.

 Judgment Criteria

Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

1. How creative is the representation of disability in the film?
2. How well did the film avoid using stereotypes about disability?
3. How engaging and interesting was the film?
4. How original was the film or how well did it raise any new perspectives about disability?
5. What was the quality of the lighting/cinematography/sound?
6. What were your overall feelings about the film?

Overall Rating
  • I was so happy when my small piece of work found its way in your selection then it went on to win a place. Cinema Touching disability festival is a home to people like me because they don't discriminate. I look forward to being present in your future festivals. Good work guys, everything about your festival is great.

    October 2018
  • Simon Mckeown

    Great festival, with wonderful selection of interesting films, looking at a really important area, in clever, different and unusual ways. Cinema to make you think.

    December 2016
  • Paul Zehrer

    Thank you for all your kindness and willingness to support our film and celebrate people with developmental disabilities living meaningful live.

    November 2016
  • Peter Ercolano

    Great Festival! Although I could not attend in person, I felt like I was there thanks to the Director of the festival William Greer who kept me closely updated on the events. There should be more festivals like this one!

    November 2016
  • Nick Spark

    Very well run festival that had great media support, and sold out venues. William Greer, who organized the festival, was with us every step of the way and went the extra mile to make our screening successful. Can't say enough about him, the PWD community in Austin, or this niche festival.

    May 2016