Art and culture are key to human development. Ensuring the accessibility of places and artistic content favors not only people with disabilities, but also the elder, pregnant women, and people with temporary disabilities (who have crutches, for example). And, above all, it allows the unification of society and promotes the inclusion of diversity. As a content producer or cultural manager, offering accessible material not only gives an excellent image of social responsibility, but also produces an increase in the audience; therefore, higher potential sales.
Our initiatives have been a precedent in Uruguay and today we are leaders adapting content and offering accessible events in the region. We have been invited to other countries to teach the methodology and to share tools. We collaborate with content producers to secure their copyright while ensuring that the accessible product reaches the target audience. Not only do we distribute them at the events we hold, but a copy is also left in the organizations of interest, and alliances are established with academic institutions in the capital and the interior of the country. We also work together with municipalities of other departments to ensure that the materials reach a bigger audience. In addition, we work with international organizations to exchange accessible content and we function as sales agents.
For people with disabilities, being able to enjoy adapted content, be it a film, a play, or an exhibition in a museum, must be a reaffirmed right. However, for most, it is something new, extraordinary, and a very rare experience. That is why at Okurelo we work to promote accessible practices based on example, because we believe that by experimenting we learn that access is possible and visibility is created on the subject.
In addition to holding free and accessible festivals, where we adapt content with our know-how and incorporate adaptations by third parties, we offer workshops on how to adapt artistic content. Although the market is very small and competitive, we believe that our knowledge should not only be reflected in our adaptation products, but also through the teaching of the technique. In this way, more people will become aware of the subject, it will gain more interest and potentially produce more demand for accessible content.
Director Carolina Sosa
In 2013, together with Evelyn Orlovitz, she founded the Okurelo Cine organization and directed the first film festival for blind and deaf people in Uruguay. In 2014, she was hired by the international film festival, CinemaFest, in Mexico, to direct the accessibility of the festival and, in 2015, she collaborated with them again. In the same year, she obtained the Fulbright scholarship to pursue a master's degree in cinema in Los Angeles and, upon returning to Uruguay in 2018, in addition to continuing her work as a filmmaker and producer, she resumed audiovisual accessibility by adapting new films and organizing inclusive film festivals.
In 2019 and 2020, she collaborates with Accecine Film Festival in Peru. That same year, she is awarded cultural entrepreneurship training at DICREA thanks to the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay and receives a mentorship at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE ) thanks to the Ser Movement. Both awards for her work as director of Okurelo. In addition, she is an audiovisual accessibility advisor at the International Coalition for Inclusion in the Audiovisual Industry, she has adapted more than ten feature films and currently directs the adaptation of cultural content in Okurelo. Likewise, she offers consultive services of audiovisual accessibility in Uruguay and in other countries, develops accessible film circuits, and teaches the Cultural Accessibility workshop, which was developed thanks to the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture in Uruguay.
Her interest in cultural accessibility stems from her bachelor's thesis in communication, where she studied the level of access that blind and deaf people have to education and culture. Seeing that access was very low, she decides to dedicate much of her life to increasing access a little more and promoting inclusion. Today that interest has turned into a passion.
Founders and Alliances
Okurelo Cine, now Okurelo, emerged in conjunction with the director, Carolina Sosa, and the producer, Evelyn Orlovitz. Orlovitz, also with a BA in Communication and a Master's in Communication Management, currently works in Canada but her legacy at Okurelo Cine has marked a before and after for our organization.
Both graduates worked in conjunction with the Braille Foundation of Uruguay (FBU), which legally represented Okurelo Cine in Uruguay in 2013. Since then, this institution -together with the National Union of the Blind of Uruguay (UNCU), the Association of Deaf of Uruguay (ASUR), and the Institute of the Deaf Community of Uruguay (CINDE)- have become allies with whom we collaborate regularly.
Name and Logo
The organization chooses its name from the conjunction of two words in Esperanto: okuluj (means eyes) and orelo (translated into Spanish as ear). Esperanto was selected because it is an auxiliary language, created by Lázaro Zamenhof, with the aim of being a unifying language of the different countries. The words were chosen because the objective of Okurelo, at that time Okurelo Cine, is to help people who need okuluj and orelos to better understand reality and, why not, fiction.
The logo is the mixture of an eagle's head and the wings of a bat due to the symbolism of both animals. The eagle is the animal with the best sight of all, it can see its prey from 3,200 meters away and the bat is one of the animals with the best hearing, since it captures its prey through sound waves because it has a very low vision.