Importance of Empowering Persons with Disabilities Highlighted from the View of Film-makers, Creativity for Accessibility

Asia-Pacific, Misc., News, November 21 2017

NEW DELHI: The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) organized an award function of Short Film Competition on Divyangjan Sashaktikaran in association with Directoriate of Film Festival (DFF) on Thursday.

group photo Total 10 awards were given in three categories of Documentaries, Short Films and TV Spots. The Chief Guest of the program, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot presented the awardees with certificate and mementos in a glittering ceremony, held at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi.

Delivering the key note address Union Minister, Sh. Thaawarchand Gehlot said that in last three years the Ministry is focusing on various schemes for empowerment of persons with disabilities.

Highlighting achievements of Department during the last three years, he said that more than 5700 camps undr ADIP schemes have been organised distributing aids and assistive devices which benefitted more than 8 lakh Persons with Disabilities for their physical empowerment.

Enumerating various achievements of the Department, he said that the Ministry is providing Rs 6 lakh per child for Cochlear Implant surgery to help hearing impaired children.

Emphasising on the need of awareness on accessibility, he said short films are powerful medium to spread the awareness among the common masses in today’s time when everybody is connected through various tools of media.

Expressing the importance of accessibility in built environment, Smt. G. Latha Krishna Rao, Secretary, DEPwD, said that we are becoming aware of infrastructural accessibility and now we should move forward to informational and communicational system inclusivity as well.

Smt. Dolly Chakravarty, Joint Secretary, DEPwD said that accessibility in the films by use of audio captioning and subtitling ensures universal accessibility in the entertainment domain. There is also the pressing need of the hour to ensure to portray disabled people as bold, courageous and empowered characters.

Lack of sensitivity and awareness in the society, has been the key challenge in all work being done in this sector. This formed the basis of DEPwD’s ‘Short film Competition on Divyangjan Shashaktikaran’, which was launched in July 2017 and was opened for submissions till August 2017. Astounding responses were received from all over the country.

Entries in the categories of Short Films, Documentaries and T.V. Spots were invited to be developed in the line of vision and benefits of Accessible India Campaign as well as benefits of the skilling, funding and encouraging Persons with Disabilities. Eminent personalities from film and media, Ms. Aparna Sanyal, Mr. Krishnendu Bose, Mr. Nila Madhab Panda and Mr. Balakishnan Diwaker, were part of the jury scrutinizing the entries to draw out the best, which most aptly described the themes and connected the most with the audience. Also Mr. K.V.S. Rao represented the department in the panel of judges.

The award for Best Short Film was given to Suyash Shinde for Azan, Abhay Punjabi for Achala, Amit Sonkar for Tum Main aur Hum Sab and Films Division for I know Sign Language. Narendra Joshi’s Sugamaya Bharat and Jyotsna Puthran’s Zebra Crossing bagged the first position in the categories of Documentary and T.V. Spot, respectively. In the category of Short Films, the Films Division’s creations Abhinaya and Diler, Arunima Sinha received awards of special mention. In the T.V.Spot section This is Me by Social Access received the second position and DOT by Jyotsna Puthran received special mention.

In the program, the Students with Disabilities from Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) presented the National Anthem in sign language. This was followed by a mesmerizing fusion dance performance by the Students with Disabilities from A.L.P.A.N.A. Thereafter, a Ghoomar dance performance by children with disabilities from Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, left the audience spell bound.  At the end of the event, full length films of the award winners were also showcased.

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