Movie theater. When the difference bursts the screen

“Why does the little girl dream that she is on a merry-go-round?” “She had a car accident, she is in a coma”, answers Valérie Liebgott, who runs from one seat to another to hand the microphone to the CM1 students of the Faïenceries primary school. In the hall of Forum Cinemasquestions abound for the youth, education and social cohesion director at the town hall of Sarreguemines after the screening of seven short films, selected by the International Disability Film Festival (FIFH). “These poetic films are a great tool for us, assures teacher Marie Milbach. They allow us to name the different types of disabilities, in particular invisible ones, to dare to put words on them.”

fight for integration

On the occasion of Disability Week, from November 14 to 23, the town hall organizes the “Different Views” event every two years: programming of short films and two feature films, Sink or swimby Margaux Bonhomme, and Romy’s Salon, by Mischa Kamp; performance of the “Plush Poems” dedicated to the early childhood of Edith Azam, autistic asperger poet and writer; scuba diving adapted on weekends. All schoolchildren in this town of nearly 20,000 inhabitants, i.e. 2,800 young people, attended the screenings.

The click? “In 2019, the meeting with the Tour festival, a traveling version of the FIFH, was a wonderful opportunity to bring together partners to create a large-scale project, says the energetic Élodie Mathi, head of the Childhood and health service of the town hall created since. Today we carry out awareness-raising actions all year round.”

An enthusiasm which, despite the stoppage given by the Covid, wins over the entire municipal team. “It is the story of a virulent contagion that Mrs. Incorvaia inoculated us with who knew how to contaminate us” launches Marc Zingraff, the mayor during the opening ceremony on November 14. It must be said that Ginette Incorvaia, 56, who runs the Forum Cinemas cash desk, is a local personality. His fight for the school integration of his sons, Tristan and Thomas, now aged 34 and 32, with motor disabilities, is well known. And the passion for cinema is a family affair.

A few years earlier, the Incorvaia brothers studied at the University of Montpellier, one cinema, the other the sciences of language. Both in wheelchairs, they are followed at the CHU. In the summer of 2011, they want to go to International Festival of Very Short Films, but the Le Rabelais cinema where the films are screened is not accessible to them. They challenge Katia Martin-Maresco, then international director of the event. Touched by their story, she wants to offer them “a cinematic space to be able to express themselves”. “I decided to put the spotlight on the fact that being different is normal. Without knowing the difficulties that awaited me” confides the director from Montpellier.

Spike for the future

Disability disturbs cultural institutions, but in 2014 the audacious entrepreneur launched with the Incorvaia brothers and Philippe Caza, comic book author and illustrator, Traveling 34, a selection of short films devoted to disability. Authors and screenwriters from all over the world answered the call, the success was such that the small team designed the FIFH in early 2015. At the same time, the Tour festival was born, which stopped off in Marseille, Vonnas, Dijon,Insead of Fontainebleau (the European Institute of Business Administration), and even in Niteroi, Brazil… His credo: to change young people’s view of differences. “Education is the most powerful weapon that we can use to change the world, said Nelson Mandela. Young people will be the ambassadors of diversity to build a fairer society” insists Katia. “When everything contributes to the social divide, all means of creating links and making singularities visible are useful and necessary, comments Philippe Lefait, journalist and sponsor of the festival.

I decided to put a spotlight on the fact that being different is normal. Without knowing the difficulties that awaited me

Katia Martin Maresco


Doing it through film, because it is indeed a film festival, is an excellent way.” Reading an excerpt from And you dance Lou, a family story written with four hands with his wife Pom Bessot, editor, about their daughter suffering from severe language disorders, the public holds their breath. Moment suspended. Shared path.

After Sarreguemines, the Tour festival will travel to Toulouse, from June 30 to July 3, 2023, then to the Netherlands and Brussels, Belgium. In the city of earthenware, it served as a spur to organize events all year around disability. In short, a consciousness accelerator.

Recipes for success


The International Film Festival on Disabilities brings together film professionals and local communities to promote diversity.

The selection is made by the festival team, which receives nearly 2,000 films each year. During the festival in Lyon, about 80 films are awarded by two juries (fiction and documentary).


The Tour festival can be divided into half a day, a day or over several days to meet budgets ranging from 1,300 to 8,500 euros. It includes, according to requests, conferences, live shows, exhibitions…



The FIFH is aimed at all audiences and in particular schoolchildren. He makes his choice of films according to the ages of the students, from elementary school to university.

Movie theater. When the difference bursts the screen