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Meet the Team: Hello from Bus Stop Films

Feb 19, 2016

The film industry is notorious for exclusivity and how difficult it is to get into. It’s because of these barriers that we exist. Since our origins, we’ve been dedicated to building pathways for people who might usually be excluded in society, become included in an industry that is at the forefront of shaping culture and societal views through the power of storytelling.

It’s because of the film industry’s power to influence people that we believe, now, more than ever, diversity needs to be consciously shaped into its structure.

Our media – our film and television – are meant to represent its audience, but in a world that’s multicultural and multifaceted, so much of mainstream film and television still regularly miss the opportunity to tell stories about our diverse and marginalised communities.

So how are we trying to change this?

Let’s start from the beginning.

We started at a literal ‘bus stop’ – the setting for our 2009 film, Be My Brother, which also went on to win Tropfest that same year. This breakthrough film kick started our film studies workshops and our organisation. In order to create a film featuring a person with a disability, we knew it needed to be made by people with disabilities too. And so, our first workshops began in a home with a group of five. Now you can find us with double the original and counting. Our classes also aren’t just about the practical side of filmmaking – we’re passionate about the study of film theory too. .We believe that people with an intellectual disability are entitled to the opportunity to access education on subjects of their interest. Film is a subject of interest for many of our students, however there are no pathways for them to attend tertiary level film studies courses. This is where we fill the gap.

Within our classes we have been able to empower our students to put theory into practice. In 2012, our students created a pro-bono, promotional video for the Physical Disability Rugby League, along with our internationally recognized short, The Interviewer.

Laughing is also a common problem at our film studies workshops!

We also recognise that inclusivity isn’t restrictive – in 2013, while on a sabbatical year of study at the Australian Film Television Radio School (AFTRS), our co-founder Genevieve adapted the inclusive filmmaking model, to see if modified, whether or not it would translate to supporting the African-Australian refugee community. The result was I am Emmanuel, a film awarded Best Australian Short Film by the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival for representing the refugee settlement experience. We were ecstatic to find that the inclusive filmmaking process successfully ensured one of our participants work with Angelina Jolie’s gaffer on her feature film ‘Unbroken’.

Our mission is to make great short films that break down social stigmas and give access to film studies to our students. Through the films we make, we want to give audiences an insight into a different human perspective and tell stories that haven’t been heard. That’s what film is all about, isn’t it? To give humanity a window into the lives of others and help us walk in another’s shoes.

We’re excited to keep you updated on our dynamic journey as we bring messages of diversity and inclusivity to the world through the power of film. In the mean time, enjoy our lesser-known shorts, become Bus Stop Film connoisseurs, and dig deeper into our history! We can’t wait to have you on our journey.