Sunday 23:00

Jemima Hughes | 
2021 | 
United Kingdom | 
2:57 mins | 
Unbound is a lively and colourful three minute abstract animation which presents the filmmaker's feelings about being perceived as “wheelchair bound” and her positive experience of physically exciting activities such as dancing and zip wiring. It combines cut out animation in hand-painted watercolour paper with digital effects, using colours, shapes and movement inspired by Kandinsky’s paintings to express emotion. The director's voice-over, spoken on her electronic communication aid and subtitled, describes her experiences. Jazz-inspired music composed for the film reflects the motion and excitement of the activities.

Unbound, by Jemima Hughes, takes us into the world and experience of Hughes’ deaf and disabled experience. The film is a short two minutes but enables us to understand misconceptions about the experience of those who are both deaf and use a wheelchair.

Perhaps the greatest affect of Unbound is the way Hughes signals to us the role of technology in her life. For many people, technology is something binding and restricting. In the digital age, screens, tech and images bombard our lived experiences. Yet there is something utopic about technology in Unbound. As Hughes tells us, the technology of the wheelchair isn’t something that she is bound to, as commonly misunderstood, but something that enables her to experience and live in the world. Moreover, her electronic communication aid allows her internal world to be expressed to others in language, aiding the closure of the gap that exists between speaking and non-speaking people. When language is the key technology that much of life depends on, access to a good standard of living and friendships and relationships become worlds of deep possibility for Hughes.

Many of the films this year, and indeed most years, feature the representation of suffering. Each film’s impetus is thus an ethical one to either try to minimise, combat or engage us within the suffering of this world. But Hughes film isn’t one that foregrounds this. It is rejuvenating and inspiring at the same time as engaging us in the world of differently bodied people in aid of renewed relationships and understanding.