Movie theater.  When the difference bursts through the screen

Movie theater. When the difference bursts through the screen

The International Disability Film Festival (FIFH) rewards productions from around the world and travels from city to city to show them to audiences. He stopped at the city of earthenware factories, in Sarreguemines in Moselle.

“Why does the little girl dream that she is on a merry-go-round?” “She had a car accident, she is in a coma,” replies Valérie Liebgott, who runs from one seat to another to hand the microphone to the CM1 students at the Faïenceries primary school. In the Forum Cinemas room, questions abound for the responsible director of youth, education and social cohesion at Sarreguemines town hall after the screening of seven short films, selected by the International Film Festival on Disabilities (FIFH). “These poetic films constitute a wonderful tool for us,” assures teacher Marie Milbach. “They allow us to name the different types of disability, particularly invisible ones, and to dare to put words on them.”

Fight for integration

On the occasion of Disability Week, from November 14 to 23, the town hall organizes the “Different Views” event every two years: programming of short films and two feature films, Sink or swimby Margaux Bonhomme, and Romy’s Salon, by Mischa Kamp; representation of “Plush Poems” dedicated to the early childhood of Edith Azam, autistic poet and writer with Asperger’s syndrome; scuba diving suitable for weekends. All the schools in this town of nearly 20,000 inhabitants, or 2,800 young people, attended the screenings.

The trigger? “In 2019, the meeting with the Tour festival, a traveling version of the FIFH, was a fantastic opportunity to bring together partners to create a large-scale project,” says the energetic Élodie Mathi, head of the Children and Health department at the town hall created since then. Today we carry out awareness-raising actions all year round.”

An enthusiasm which, despite the halt given by the Covid, wins over the entire municipal team. “It’s the story of a virulent contagion inoculated into us by Mrs. Incorvaia who knew how to contaminate us,” says Marc Zingraff, the mayor during the opening ceremony on November 14. It must be said that Ginette Incorvaia, 56, who runs the cash register of Cinémas Forum, is a local personality. His fight for the educational integration of his sons, Tristan and Thomas, now aged 34 and 32, with motor disabilities, is known. And the passion for cinema is a family affair.

A few years earlier, the Incorvaia brothers studied at the University of Montpellier, one cinema, the other language sciences. Both in wheelchairs, they are monitored at the University Hospital. In the summer of 2011, they wanted to go to the International Festival of Très Courts, but the Le Rabelais cinema where the films were shown was not accessible to them. They question Katia Martin-Maresco, then international director of the event. Touched by their story, she wants to offer them “a cinematic space to be able to express themselves”. “I decided to shine the spotlight on the fact that being different is normal. Without knowing the difficulties that awaited me” confides the Montpellier-based director.

Stimulus for the future

Disability bothers cultural institutions but in 2014 the daring entrepreneur launched Traveling 34, with the brothers Incorvaia and Philippe Caza, comic book author and illustrator, a selection of short films dedicated to disability. Authors and screenwriters from all over the world responded to the call, the success was such that the small team designed the FIFH at the beginning of 2015. At the same time, the Tour festival was born, which stopped in Marseille, Vonnas, Dijon, at Insead in Fontainebleau (the European Institute of Business Administration), and even in Niteroi, in Brazil… Its credo: changing the outlook of young people on the differences. “Education is the most powerful weapon that we can use to change the world, said Nelson Mandela. Young people will be the ambassadors of diversity to build a fairer society,” insists Katia. “When everything contributes to the social divide, all means of creating links and making singularities visible are useful and necessary,” comments Philippe Lefait, journalist and sponsor of the festival.

I decided to shine a spotlight on the fact that being different is normal. Without knowing the difficulties that awaited me

Katia Martin-Maresco


Doing it through film, because it is indeed a film festival, is an excellent avenue.” Reading an extract from And you dance Lou, a family story written together with his wife Pom Bessot, publisher, about their daughter suffering from severe language disorders, the public holds its breath. Suspended moment. Shared path.

After Sarreguemines, the Tour festival will travel to Toulouse, from June 30 to July 3, 2023, then to the Netherlands and Brussels, Belgium. In the town of earthenware, it served as a spur to organize events all year round around disability. A consciousness accelerator in short.

Recipes for success


The international film festival on disabilities brings together film professionals and local communities to promote diversity.

The selection is made by the festival team which receives nearly 2,000 films each year. During the festival in Lyon, around 80 films are awarded prizes by two juries (fiction and documentary).


The Tour festival can be divided into half a day, a day or over several days to meet budgets ranging from 1,300 to 8,500 euros. It includes, depending on requests, conferences, live shows, exhibitions, etc.

Contact: [email protected];


The FIFH is aimed at all audiences and in particular schools. He makes his film choices based on the ages of the students, from elementary school to university.

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