An 80-minute feature documentary produced by Reading’s Dr Shweta Ghosh as part of her practice-led research is being used to highlight the urgent need for more inclusive and accessible filmmaking practices in India and beyond.

Through a series of screenings and discussions of her feature-length documentary We Make Film, Ghosh is informing important conversations about creativity and disability, including the need for more accessible working practices in the film industry of contemporary urban India.

In creating the film, Ghosh employed a unique interview-workshop method, working with disabled filmmakers as both research crew and participants to explore their experiences of creative expression while actively experimenting with more inclusive filmmaking practices.

This approach, together with subsequent engagement by industry professionals and wider audiences with the themes and issues explored in the film, has led to the development of new networks and opportunities for disabled filmmakers in India and connected creative perspectives across India and UK.

Since 2021, the film has been shown at various international film festivals and events and has received awards including Best Accessible/Inclusive Film at the Together! 2021 Disability Film Festival. It was also selected for Good Pitch Local Deccan (India), a documentary impact programme run by Doc Society UK and Indian Documentary Foundation.

The inclusion of the film in this programme led directly to the introduction by Good Pitch Local Deccan (India) of measures to improve the accessibility of their events and accompanying video material, including audio description, sign language interpretation, and live captioning.

“During impact production of the film, Dr Ghosh initiated several conversations on accessibility, creating a cultural shift in the way we visualised a Good Pitch event, by learning and implementing several key practices. At the forum, the film was also able to facilitate a constructive dialogue on the viability of allyship and collaborative filmmaking to support disabled creatives.” Good Pitch Local Deccan team

Judges’ comment

“This comes across as an excellent engagement and impact project, all the more notable as it is led by an early career researcher. With a clear thread between the research, the activity and the outputs, there is clearly more impact to come.”

Team: Shweta Ghosh

Funded by University of Reading, Crowdfunding

Shortlisted for the University Research Engagement and Impact Awards 2022 (winner)

First published: June 2022