Film Festival Co-Presented by Longmore Institute Honors Pixar for Advancements in Accessibility Technology

Friday, September 30, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 30, 2016): On October 22, Pixar Academy Award®-winning Producer Jonas Rivera (Inside Out, Up) and longtime Pixar Post-production Supervisor Paul Cichocki will accept the first-ever “Superfest Producer’s Award” for the advancement of disability and film.

Animated still from Finding Dory with two fish talking to each other

With the support of Disney and Pixar, Rivera and Cichocki have revolutionized the accessibility of the studio’s films. Today, thanks to their efforts, a blind person can put on a Pixar movie anywhere, pull out their phone and instantly be served an accompanying audio description track, free of charge. This model — of total film content access — is one that the whole industry will soon follow, and Pixar’s innovators, as always, are leading the way.

Last year, Pixar released an audio description app, allowing anyone who is blind or has low vision to stream audio description for any Pixar film via a smart phone. In addition, Pixar’s Finding Dory received widespread praise from the disability community for how it represented Dory’s short-term memory loss, cast not as a deficit but as something that helps the other characters.

Superfest is celebrating the positive, but is also guffawing at the worst in disability film. Based on the infamous “Razzies,” Superfest’s “Dissie” is awarded to a film that completely misses the mark about disability — calling out a shining examples of what NOT to do when making movies about people with disabilities. The disability community cast its votes for the “worst of the worst,” and with 85 percent of the vote, it went to Me Before You, a movie which caused nationwide protests from the disability community and has been called a “disability snuff film.”

Festival coordinator Emily Beitiks tells us why these awards, both positive and negative, matter: “Superfest is so much more than just really great films. With disabled comedians as our emcees and presentations from disability community leaders, it’s a place for the community to come together and celebrate disability as a creative and generative force, something that the majority of Hollywood does not yet understand.”

To learn more about the festival, visit Tickets are on sale now.

Superfest Awards

  • Disney·Pixar – Superfest Producers’ Award: For achievement in film accessibility.
  • Me Before You – Dissie Award: A satirical “anti-award,” reserved for films that do more harm than good.

2016 Award Winning Films

  • Supersonic (England): Best of Festival, Short. Directed by Samuel Dore, Written by Cihan Narin. Produced by Maverick Litchfield-Kelly.
  • Best and Most Beautiful Things (United States): Best of Festival, Feature. Written and directed by Garrett Zevgetis; Produced by Ariana Garfinkel, Jeff Consiglio, Garrett Zevgetis, and Jordan Salvatoriello.
  • Awake (England): Liane Yasumoto Jury’s Choice Award. Written and Directed by Michael Achtman, Produced by Caglar Kimyonc.
  • Double Discrimination (England): Disability Justice Award. Written and Directed by Rinkoo Barpaga.
  • The Right to be Rescued (United States): Advocacy Award. Directed by Jordan Melograna, Produced by Jordan Melograna and Mark Stroh.

About Superfest

Superfest: International Disability Film Festival is a showcase of juried films held in San Francisco and Berkeley. What started in 1970 as a small showcase in Los Angeles, has grown into a sold-out international event. As we celebrate our 30th festival, we continue to honor and celebrate the unique contributions of the growing disability arts and culture movement. The festival exhibits the most innovative and provocative works from both seasoned filmmakers and emerging media arts professionals.

We are one of the few festivals, of any kind, in the country that is completely accessible. All films will be presented with captioning and audio-description and all live dialogue will be available with American Sign Language and live captioning. Filmmakers are traveling from Israel, France, England and Canada to participate in panels, engage with the audience and accept awards.

Superfest producers

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired and San Francisco State University’s Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability together host Superfest, the 30th festival of the longest running disability film festival in the world. All films will be presented with captioning and audio-description and all live dialogue will be available with American Sign Language and live captioning. Festival coordinator Emily Beitiks said, “Superfest goes way beyond minimum standards for hosting an accessible event. Nondisabled attendees may find that they benefit from these access features, changing the way we experience moviegoing for the better.”

Media Contact: 
Will Butler, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 415-694-7309, Emily Beitiks, Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University, (415) 405-3528,
News Release