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Cross the Sky documentary welcomed home.

Award-Winning Documentary Celebrating the Creativity of Learning-Disabled People Returns Home from World Tour

Cross the Sky Theatre Company is thrilled to announce the return of their award-winning documentary film for a special homecoming screening at Parkway Cinema. The free event will take place at 1.30pm on Wednesday, June 19th, as part of Mencap’s Learning Disability Week, with this year’s theme, ‘Do you see me?’, focusing on being seen, heard, and valued.

The documentary, a celebration of the creativity of learning-disabled people, aims to challenge public perception of learning disabilities and highlight their remarkable talents. It documents the experiences of Cross the Sky’s members during the Covid-19 pandemic, which abruptly halted their plans to tour a musical theatre production. Despite these setbacks, the group’s resilience and creativity shone through, culminating in a powerful film that has garnered international acclaim.

Cross the Sky, a community theatre company for learning disabled and autistic adults, has been part of Barnsley Civic since 2015 and has a rich history spanning over 20 years. Filmmaker John Slemensek-Thorne of Studio Bokehgo embedded himself in the company to authentically capture their journey. The resulting documentary has received numerous accolades at international film festivals, including:

  • Makizhmithran International Film Festival, India – SPECIAL JURY AWARD – Best Documentary Short Film
  • Ganges International Film Festival, India – WINNER – Films on Disability
  • Black Swan International Film Festival, India – WINNER – Films on Disability
  • International Short Film Festival Malaysia – SPECIAL JURY PRIZE – Best International Short Film
  • Golden Fern International Film Awards, India – WINNER – Films on Disability
  • Golden Short Film Festival, Italy – WINNER – Golden Soundtrack
  • Golden Bridge Istanbul Short Film Festival, Turkey – Best Documentary Short – OFFICIAL SELECTION
  • Druk International Film Festival, Bhutan – WINNER – Films on Disability
  • Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival – HONOURABLE MENTION
  • Lift-Off Global Network – OFFICIAL SELECTION
  • Stockholm City Film Festival – FINALIST for Best Short Film
  • Milan Shorts Film Festival – OFFICIAL SELECTION – 5 STARS
  • Singapore International Short Film Festival – WINNER – Best Film on Human Rights, Best Original Score for Short Film, Debut Filmmaker of Short Film, SPECIAL JURY PRIZE – Best International Short Film

Jason White Creative Engagement Manager, representing both Cross the Sky and Barnsley Civic, shared his thoughts on the project:

“Many of our disabled performers were more vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic; they had to shield for longer and take extra precautions before they could regroup and get back to what they love – performing.

“We now consider John to be part of the Cross the Sky family. It was a pleasure to have him take up residency with us. It was obvious from the start that he understood the group, the importance of our message and the need to enable and amplify the voices and experiences of our disabled members.

“We are beyond delighted by the reception the film has had from around the world, and it is a testament to Cross the Sky and John’s talents.”

Director John Slemensek-Thorne added:

“A film screen is a window through which we can explore our world. I am so honoured and proud to have been welcomed into the extraordinary world of Cross the Sky. Together we have co-produced a film of great authenticity, integrity, originality, and beauty. It is all these things because of the generosity and honesty of all the members of Cross the Sky. They have shown their hearts and their spirits, and thanks to this, we have a film that is so sincere and heart-warming. It is truly an artefact of how wonderful humanity can be. I have loved being a part of this.”

The documentary’s international success highlights the unique talents and stories of learning-disabled individuals, providing a platform for their voices to be heard globally.

Places can be reserved for this special screening by booking by CLICKING HERE.

Following the screening, the film will be available to watch online at www.barnsleycivic.co.uk. We encourage attendees to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #CrossTheSkyDocumentary.

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