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 selected 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 essential part of this festival. This competition invites filmmakers to share their personal views of disability through a short film. The films with the most imaginative and interesting portrayals of people with disabilities will be featured at Cinema Touching Disability. The three best films will also win a cash prize and an award certificate.

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. This does not mean that you are required 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
• Selected finalists will also be screened

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

Cinema Touching Disability also screens many of the other finalists. The Festival selects as many of them as possible to be shown on both evenings.

Rules for Submission

Films must be received before 12:00 a.m. on Friday, August 2, 2019. The following requirements are mandatory for all submissions.

1. Each film must be between three (3) and twenty (20) minutes long. The length of the film does not include the credits,, it only refers to the content of the film.
2. The film may NOT have been previously submitted to the Cinema Touching Disability Short Film Competition.
3. The film must either be about, star, or be made by a person with a disability. A disability is an impairment that limits a major life activity. Disabilities include, but are not limited to, blindness, deafness, paraplegia, quadriplegia, autism, cerebral palsy and dwarfism.
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
  • Susie Forster

    Thanks for selecting our short film Meeting Mick. It felt like a real honour to also win a prize. William, you're a terrific festival director!

    October 2018
  • Thanks for selecting our short film "The Complicated Dance of Life" at the 15th Edition. Thanks for giving voice for the Persons With Disability. God bless the festival.

    October 2018
  • 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