Top Film Industry Award Plus BIFA Nominations for Is There Anybody Out There?

Buzz, Film, Reviews

Conic is delighted to share that the director of the award-winning documentary Is There Anybody Out There? is picking up further accolades as her film previews across the country ahead of its UK/Irish release this Friday 17th November.

Just days ahead of the film’s release, Ella Glendining was awarded the prestigious BFI & CHANEL Filmmaker Award after featuring on ITV’s LORRAINE programme. The winners of the 2023 Awards were selected by this year’s jury: Tilda Swinton, Academy Award Winner, BFI Fellow and Global CHANEL Ambassador, Edward Enninful OBE, Editor-in-Chief, British Vogue and European Editorial Director, Vogue; Marie-Louise Khondji, producer and founder of Le Cinéma Club and Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive.

The judges 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.”

The film is also nominated for two BIFA Awards: Best Debut Director – Feature Documentary and The Raindance Maverick Award. The BIFA awards will be announced on 3rd December.

Is There Anybody Out There? follows filmmaker Ella Glendining’s global search for someone with the same rare disability and body that looks like hers, and explores what it takes to love yourself fiercely as a disabled person in an ableist world.

The film has already picked up a slew of awards, including the FIPRESCI International Film Critics Prize, The Silver Horn for the director of the film on social issues from Krakow Film Festival, and the ‘Be the Change’ award from Biografilm Festival (Italy).

The film had its World Premiere in competition at Sundance Film Festival 2023 earlier this year, has screened at festivals worldwide including SXSW, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, CPH:DOX and Hotdocs and had its UK premiere in June at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Ella Glendining is a writer and director dedicated to telling authentic disabled stories. She works in both documentary and fiction and has written and directed short films with backing from Film4, the BFI Doc Society Fund awarding National Lottery funding, Arts Council England, Screen South, and the National Paralympic Heritage Trust.

Director Ella Glendining said: “My body is extremely unusual, and I’ve never seen another like my own. Is There Anybody Out There? isa 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.”

In my search for others like me, I hope to find something that’s always been missing, on both a physical and spiritual level. As well as disability and otherness, this film is about becoming a mother, my own unexpected pregnancy and the birth of my son being documented right from the day I found out I was pregnant. 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.

I want this film to reach as wide an audience as possible. I want it to humanise disabled people. I hope its non-disabled audience will question the way they think about and interact with disabled people, and for them to be less ableist as a result. And I want it to be a beacon of light for disabled people who are angry and sad. But 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 resilienceof the disabled community and of 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.”