Celebrating International Day of People with Disability at Bus Stop!
At Bus Stop, we believe that change occurs when we connect with people face to face and share stories that give people insight into a different human experience. We believe that film has the power to help to educate people about disability, challenge preconceptions, and celebrate the abilities of those living with a disability.
Because of this we were delighted to have the opportunity to send three of our students to various events this week in the lead up to International Day of People with a Disability in order to present some of our films and conduct Q & A’s with local community groups and government sectors across Sydney.
Our first event was on the 24th of November. We sent the very talented actress and filmmaker Audrey O’Connor and our ambassador Nathan Basha to Mosman Art Gallery where they presented to more than 140 school students from five local schools on the North Shore. The event was put on by Mosman Council, who organised various activities and events to raise awareness, understanding and acceptance of disability amongst school children.
“It’s so important that we talk to children” Said Audrey, “they are young and they are still learning, they had their own questions that they wanted to ask me about the film and about my disability. They can tell their parents about what they learned and what it’s like for people with a disability when they get to my age.”
“Educating young people is how we will break fixed mindsets about disability, we’re getting to the mindset before it’s been developed, it was a great opportunity to break down barriers.” Said Nathan.
The children were treated to a screening of our 2012 film The Interviewer, staring acclaimed actor, Gerard O’dwyer. The film has won over 30 international awards and went viral in Europe after being screened on Arte TV. Both Audrey and Nathan were a part of the cohort who helped make The Interviewer and they spoke of their roles on set, as well as their desire to see more inclusion for people with disability in society.
“They loved the film, I saw some of them laughing when Gerard got into the Harry Potter quotes. Also some people wanted to know if he had a disability and what it was. I hope they can see that people like me with a disability can achieve a lot in their life and that maybe they can make a change about what disability means.” Audrey said.
Check out The Interviewer here:
The very next day on the 25th, Nathan and this time, acclaimed artist Digby Webster presented our 2014 experimental film Heartbreak and Beauty to an audience of 40 employees from the Guardianship Division of the Dept of Justice at their annual ‘A Culture of Inclusion’ event at the Dowling Centre.
“I loved speaking to everyone about filmmaking, it was great to show them what I can do, they saw me dance and I talked about what I learn about at Bus Stop Films.” Digby said.
After showing the film, the audience had many questions for Digby and Nathan. One of the questions which was directed at Nathan who co-directed the film, was about how the class chose the themes of the film,
“The film is about how we all can find beauty within pain, we all have complex emotions that make us human whether a person has a disability or not, we wanted to show that, that there is beauty within heartbreak and that we’re all connected through that experience.” Nathan said.
Check out Heartbreak and Beauty here:
Our final stop for the week was at the Department of Premier and Cabinet where Nathan again presented, along with one of our 2015 students Joni Campbell and our co-founder Genevieve Clay-Smith. The trio presented to an audience of around 30 DPC employees with DPC Secretary, Blair Comley in attendance and showed Bus Stop’s latest film Kill Off.
You can check out the trailer for Kill Off here:
“I believe that when we change the stories we tell, we can change the world we live in. Human Rights and filmmaking is intrinsically linked because when we watch a film, we are watching a representation of our reality – it’s going to have messages in it, it’s going to either maintain the status quo or challenge it.” Genevieve said.
During Joni’s presentation she passionately spoke about her involvement with Bus Stop Films and making the film Kill Off saying, “I’ve discovered that just because I have a disability doesn’t mean I can’t do it and to not let that define who I am and stand in the way of my hopes and dreams.”
Nathan’s focus was on equal opportunity for employment for people with a disability, “ I have a VISION in which ALL people are valued and have equality of opportunity to lead fulfilling lives by achieving their innate potential.” Nathan said, ” I really encourage you all today, to explore the possibility of having a conversation with people you know around employment opportunities for people with disability – you can make a real difference.”
On December 3rd this year, we encourage everyone to start a conversation about what is possible for people with disabilities and to become actively involved in making the world more inclusive.
To finish off this celebratory blog post, we want to share a highlights video about the making of Kill Off, the video demonstrates the abilities of our students with intellectual disabilities and that all things are possible when we adopt an inclusive attitude!