'We CARE'filmfest to educate people about disability

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New Delhi, Jan 27 (UNI) Close on the heels of Aamir Khan's 'Taare Zameen Par' making an evocative plea for granting equal rights to education for mentally and physically challenged children, a film festival aimed at creating awareness about disability issues, equal rights and opportunities to the mentally and physically challenged in society will be held in the capital from February 20.

''We CARE filmfest'', would be held in the India International Centre, New Delhi from February 20-21, aiming at creating awareness about disability issues through films that could help foster integration in the society by spreading the message of ability.

At the same time, the festival, being organised by 'Brotherhood', an organisation working for several years for the welfare of the disabled, is aimed at giving a fillip to the rights-based approach where persons with disability were considered persons first, a plea which the recently released 'Taare Zameen Par' made in an effective way.

Says the festival Director Satish Kapoor, ''films are very powerful medium for educating the people about the disability issues, stereotypes, misconceptions and also for creating awareness which can help in encouraging equal rights and opportunities to mentally and physically challenged people. As such, the name of the film festival "We CARE filmfest" sums up the sprit of this endeavour... this festival should not be looked as an event but as a movement.'' Creating awareness on disability issues through the medium of films is a new concept in India, though such festivals have been held before in various parts of the world.

''Research shows that in most countries, the majority of children with disabilities do not know any disabled adult and, consequently, many have a difficult time in imagining their future. In this context, the audio-visual medium can provide a medium to observe disabled adults, undertaking a wide variety of activities, in effect, introducing them to positive role models,'' Mr Kapoor said.

The festival director said the aim of organising the film festival was to fill the lacunae in the films and documentaries in India to create awareness about such issues.

For, barring 'Taare Zameen Par' and, before it, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Black' and Gulzar's 'Koshish', there are hardly any films focusing on disability issues and the plights of the mentally or physically challenged in India.

''While more than 25,000 foreign films and documentaries on disability issues are available to the target audience through proper channel and distribution network, it is pity that in India, there are about 40 films (both Hindi and regional language) and about 80 documentaries which are hardly available to the target audience,''Kapoor said.

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