Matthew Hellett is the new Head Programmer of the Oska Bright Film Festival based in Brighton. He recently completed the prestigious Guiding Lights programme by Lighthouse and introduced a new queer strand to the festival.

What is Oska Bright?

Oska Bright Film Festival is a platform for learning disabled artists to showcase their work and give an insight into their lives. We’ve been doing this since 2004 and it started as a one day festival. Now we have a three day festival, it’s bigger and better and we’re constantly blown away by the quality of films every year.

Are you enjoying your role as head programmer?

Yes, most definitely. I’ve really enjoyed doing it. I was accepted onto Guiding Lights and I’ve had a great mentor, Emma Smart from BFI Flare. She’s been so supportive and has helped me to be fearless and trust my creative instincts. I am honoured to watch all these amazing films, to pick out the themes and tie everything together.

Why did you introduce a new LGBTQIA+ strand this year?

At our last festival I met an incredible filmmaker called Matthew Kennedy. Matthew is a queer femme filmmaker and we hit it off straight away. It made me realise that we need to give the space to all the unheard voices. I am a gay learning disabled man, I love to do drag. I don’t have that many friends in the LGBT community and it’s important for us to come together, support each other and celebrate the work we do as artists.

What films should we look out for this year at the festival?

We’ve had so many incredible documentaries this year. It’s so amazing to get an insight into people’s lives. I’d look out for Life on Two Spectrums – about Tia Anna who is finding her way as a drag queen. As a drag artist myself, I really identify with this film.

Oska Bright Film Festival takes place from Weds 15 – Fri 17 Nov at The Old Market.

Get your tickets here!

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