This past April, we launched the first annual TilT Challenge. This exciting new program called for middle school, high school, and pre-professional students from around the world to share their disability experience through the art of digital media and storytelling. The TiLT Challenge sought authentic stories of no more than 5 minutes in length to inform, enlighten, and tilt society’s current perceptions.
The level four (pre-professional) winning entry came all the way from Mongolia and was entitled “It Starts at the Door.” Young filmmakers from Mongolia, Britain, and the United States worked alongside members of the Independent Living Centre in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to “capture something distinctly Mongolian.” They wanted to bring together both Mongolian and disability culture. The result was a beautiful 4 minute look into the Mongolian bosgo. The team wanted to show how such a tradition remains inconvenient for those with disabilities. When we learned of the positive reaction Mongolian and U.S. audiences were having to the film, we wanted to find out more!
You can watch the full video here:
[Back of cameraman filming shot of elderly man in front of a traditional Mongolian home]
In Mongolia, almost half of the population is under the age of 24, so a challenge aimed specifically at this age group was perfect for the creative team. The filmmakers explained that they found out about the TILT Challenge only a few weeks prior to the submission deadline. Despite the time crunch, they worked to make their their film “a bit quirky and more upbeat.”
[Camera man sitting on bed filming a scene for the film]
The team explained that many times issues related to disabilities are “brushed under the carpet” in their country—not due to bad intentions, but rather a lack of knowledge. After coming up with a topic that the team could focus on, a member of the Centre told them about the bosgo,
a step placed at the entrance of a traditional Mongolian house, which is a symbol of how society and traditions can sometimes discriminate against and exclude those with disabilities. The title of their film came together after learning about the topic and they were able to begin the challenge.
[Photograph of film team gathered together]
The lead actress, Gantuya, volunteered when the team contacted the Independent Living Centre to see if there was anyone interested in acting for the film. It became a family affair when her family offered their house as the setting. Audiences can even see some of her neighbors used as the extras in the background!
[Photograph of citizens signing a large ADA Pledge on a wall]
The team released a Mongolian version of the film, which has received many positive reactions from around the world. The film was screened at the American Embassy in Ulaanbaatar and was also featured on Mongolia’s largest state news channel. On the whole, the filmmaking team believes that the positive reaction will raise awareness and draw attention to the current state of accessibility in their country, as well as make the lives of those with disabilities easier. Along with this film’s success, the team hopes to raise funds to create a proper website for the Independent Living Centre and promote Social Mapping for Ulaanbaatar.
The creative minds behind this film include Gantuya, 22, who served as the lead actress; director and translator Misheel Davaadorj, 22; scriptwriter and narrator Finbar McLoughlin, 22; cinematographer, shooter, and editor Suniko Bazargarid, 19; Tuguldur Lkhagva, 17, who helped with filming and organizational matters; and Yanjinlkham Lkhagvadorj, 22, who served as a translator for both the script and the team as a whole. The film team also gives credit to Alice Colemen, for bringing the team together and providing script writing advice; Undrakhbayar and the Independent Living Centre for support, ideas, and feedback; Dulguun Ba, for editing and filming advice; and Tim Jenkins for connecting the team with the Independent Living Centre and helping to publicize the video in Mongolia.
We want to hear from you—what’s your reaction to the film?