The Other Film Festival: Western Australia is a ground-breaking film festival in Fremantle, Western Australia that puts people with disability at the center of filmmaking. The festival features a series of short films created by directors with disabilities who tell their own stories.
The curator for The Other Film Festival WA in 2022 selected films that were diverse and varied in their structure, form, and narrative. By selecting an array of complex and nuanced stories, she hoped to subvert common clichés and expectations surrounding mainstream understandings of people with disability. After numerous conversations between stakeholders, the idea of "upending expectations" became the overarching concept that drove the redesign a new visual identity and the creation of collateral to advertise the event. The new visual identity featured an animated logo with a series of oblong circular forms that continuously spin. Over time they transition from symmetrical compositions to asymmetrical and back again. The circular forms act as a subtle reference to camera lenses, while the rotational movement communicated the concept of overturning pre-existing ideas and connotations. The selected typeface broke from the conventions of type design by featuring letterforms with thin crossbars. The posters, social media content, festival program, and holding screens were designed with a rotating, circular pattern.
The result was a campaign that emphasized the diversity and individuality of each director. The new design campaign increased festival participation and provided a successful introduction to a new, memorable brand.
:: Project Overview ::
The Other Film Festival was established in 2004 as a major art project of Arts Access Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. It puts people with disability at the heart of filmmaking and showcases films created by and for people with disability.
Due the the success of The Other Film Festival in Melbourne, DADAA—a leading organization that provides access to arts and culture for people with disability—created a regional offshoot in 2020: The Other Film Festival: Western Australia. After two years, the organizers decided that the visual identity of the The Other Film Festival: Western Australia needed to be more distinct from its original counterpart.
:: Visual Identity ::
The visual identity of The Other Film Festival was developed in coordination with the Special Projects Manager of DADAA, Ricky Arnold, and the Festival's Curator, Sarah Collins. During initial consultations, Collins explained that she selects a diverse range of films with a variety of themes so that a broad range of perspectives and identities are represented. After the 2021 festival, she wrote, "Disability in mainstream film tends to have specific tropes and clichés which serve to "inspire" an audience and often win awards for able-bodied actors for their "bravery" in portraying a character whose entire life is usually defined by their disability. I have enjoyed finding films that subvert these tropes (if you subscribe to the idea the people with disability can do anything, how do you feel about them planning and carrying out a robbery?) and focus on people telling their own stories, both in front of and behind the camera." Because the festival organizers avoid clichés and stereotypical narratives about people with disability, this became the design concept that drove the redesign of the visual identity.
The primary design aim was to use abstract visual forms to represent the concept of "subverting expectations." The final design solution was an animated logo featuring four circular forms that continuously spin. The circle elements are a nod camera lenses and multiple perspectives. The continuous rotation symbolizes the aim of "upending stereotypes." As the logo spins it moves from a symmetrical composition to an asymmetrical composition and back again, infinitely. In order to convey this rotational concept in print media, a pattern was developed to showcase multiple frames of the animation. In other words, the pattern features a frame-by-frame rotation of the logo. Additionally, the typeface for visual identity uses unconventional letterforms that have a narrow cross-bar. This is generally an undesirable formal solution, but, here, it furthers the design concept. Ultimately, the redesign aimed to simply and clearly convey a progressive sensibility in a direct manner.
:: Design Collateral ::
The visual identity was developed with a multi-media approach in mind, so it could function in print and digital media. The posters and social media feature compatible static and animated representations of the visual identity by utilizing the logo pattern and the motion logo. The festival program was developed to showcase the new identity and sought to balance an experimental sensibility with accessibility requirements for print media. The design featured high-contrast colors (black and white) and larger type for the sake of legibility for individuals with low-vision and dyslexia. An animated holding video was created as a the primer for each film session.
:: Final Outcome ::
In 2022, the festival featured 30 films, more than double from 2021. The redesign presented the ethos of the Other Film Festival: Western Australia in a simple, effective, and direct identity. Importantly, the client was thrilled with the new visual identity and the design collateral. Since the development of the new identity the festival has moved to a biennale model so they can grow and feature more films.