New body positive film, ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’, hits the screens

The award winning film is a celebration of the resilience of the disabled community and humanity in all its diversity.

A critically acclaimed film about disability has hit UK cinemas this month after a successful run at festivals.

Is There Anybody Out There? follows the filmmaker, Ella Glendining’s, journey to find another person with a disability and body that looks like hers.

With key themes of self-love and body positivity, the film has created waves within the disabled community.

A picture of Ellie Glendining wearing all black in front of a black background.

So far, Ella Glendining has won the BFI & CHANEL Filmmaker award for her work and the FIPRESCI International Film Critics Prize, The Silver Horn from Krakow Film Festival, and the ‘Be the Change’ award from Biografilm Festival (Italy).

The BFI & CHANEL Filmmaker Award judges found Glendining’s documentary to be very profound.

They said: “What radiates from Ella’s work is attitude, something she has channelled to great effect into the fantastic Is There Anybody Out There?

“An important film for many reasons and so unique, but also quite simply a story brilliantly told and a debut feature beautifully executed.”

Ellie Glendining in a hospital bed getting an ultrasound.

Ella Glendining has written and directed short films for Film4, the BFI Doc Society Fund, Arts Council England, Screen South, and the National Paralympic Heritage Trust and is dedicated to telling authentic disabled stories.

She said that this documentary was particularly important to her because of its personal significance.

She said: “My body is extremely unusual, and I’ve never seen another like my own. Is There Anybody Out There? Is a personal documentary following my search to track down other individuals with the same rare disability as me.

“Perhaps more than anything, however, this story is about ableism – about living in a world where you’re seen as less than human – and what it takes to love yourself fiercely despite this.”

“Making this film has truly been the journey of a lifetime, and there were many surprises along the way. Throughout the four years of shooting, as my life unfolded, so did the story of the film. I think we have created something even more beautiful.”

Ellie Glendining in a forrest. There are some bluebells and a lot of green trees. The forrest is slightly out of focus.

The film is also up for two BIFA Awards for Best Debut Director – Feature Documentary and the Raindance Maverick award, and results will be announced on the 3rd of December.

With a successful premiere at the Sundance Festival earlier this year, the film has screened at festivals worldwide, including the SXSW, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, CPH:DOX, Hotdocs and Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Glendining wants the film to reach “as wide an audience as possible” and hopes that the audience, regardless of their background, will relate to some of the challenges presented.

She said: “This film is not just for disabled people; it is for anyone who’s ever been made to feel ‘other’.

“As well as being a condemnation of ableism, Is There Anybody Out There? is a celebration of the resilience of the disabled community and humanity in all its diversity.

“It is about disabled kinship and disabled pride. It is my love letter to the disability community and its allies. I hope it will be groundbreaking.”

A photo from the documentary of Ellie Glendining speaking to someone in their home.

All screenings will be as inclusive as possible, with descriptive subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing people and audio descriptions.

Check your local cinema information for more information on local listings or for details.

Is There Anybody Out There? is also available via Amazon, BFI Player, Curzon Home Cinema and Ratuken TV.

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