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Breaking Barriers through Film

To a city notoriously unwelcoming to people with disabilities comes a film festival that uses deaf lovers and cartoon fish to spread a message of abilities and rights. This month, Moscow welcomes the Second International Disability Film Festival: Breaking Down Barriers II.

Scheduled for the Salyut Cinema near metro Akademicheskaya from Nov. 11-14, the festival will feature more than 60 films from 17 countries, from Hollywood blockbusters like Finding Nemo to love stories to public service announcements and childrens cartoons, all dealing with disability issues.

The festival is put on by Perspektiva, a Moscow NGO that promotes awareness of special needs and the integration of people with disabilities into Russian schools and workplaces. Perspektiva says some 15 million people in Russia have disabilities, about 10 percent of the population. But they are often isolated from the rest of society because of physical barriers that prevent them from crossing streets and entering public buildings or school policies that dismiss children with disabilities as unteachable policies which Perspektiva aims to change.

Films from Russia, the United States, Canada, Thailand, India, Australia and across Europe will be screened at the festival. Among the films is the wildly popular Swiss-made movie Amore Secret, a feature length love story between two deaf people. The film stars well-known French actress Emmanuelle Laborit, who is deaf.

Films for children include the blockbuster feature about a one-finned fish, Finding Nemo, and an episode from the much-loved U.S. childrens cartoon series, Clifford the Big Red Dog, in which Clifford and his friends meet KC, a three-legged dog.

Admission is free and all showings are accessible to people with disabilities.

The festival opens November 11 at 11am. Films will run from 10am to 10pm, Nov. 12-13 and from 10am to 5pm on Nov. 14. The Salyut Cinema is at 14/3 Ul. Kedrova. The latest information about showtimes is available at

By Kimberly OHaver

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