Logline: A short film that asks you to re-think dis-ability.
Current Status: Completed.
Director: Sue Roberts
Looking for (ie buyer, distributor, sales agent, producer, media interest)
Made in association with:
Why did you make this film?
I was so inspired and impressed with this amazing group of women whom I’d met in 2014 whilst filming a video for Surf Coast Shire, about a leadership training program they were participating in. A key outcome of that training led to the establishment of the amazing and powerful social justice campaign ‘reThink disAbility’.
The campaign is now run by a community working group made up of people with a disability from the Surf Coast/Geelong region. They are working hard to break down barriers, open new doors and realise an inclusive Australian society for all.
I had been in touch with Kerri Deague, Rural Access Officer at SCS, and she told me about the stall the team was going to set up at the local community market in Torquay. So I volunteered my services and suggested we make a film about it. The resulting film essentially documents the event and celebrates their cause as well as communicates their key messages. It was a privilege to be involved.
Re-Think Dis-ability is a very powerful statement, especially the part that asks us to Think Ability. Why do you think we don’t hear these sentiments more often in society?
I think in broad terms society can tend to focus more on what a person with a disability can’t do, than what they can. The beauty of this campaign is that it carries with it such a powerful and positive message; quite simply that everyone has their own unique talents and abilities and that celebrating and recognising those skills and abilities needs to be the focus above all else. Everyone has the capacity and potential to do great things in this world, and this fact needs to apply to people of all abilities.
In one of the scenes there is a woman in a wheelchair with a sign saying 'human library'. Can you tell us what this means?
The human library concept is a very unique and clever way of saying that everyone has a story to tell, whether they are a person with a disability or not. It is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.
It is a place where real people are on loan to readers. A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered. At the Cowrie market Eliza was the Human Library and had some wonderful chats with local community members as they visited the stall. Such a powerful & simple concept that I’m sure has resulted in great connections made and lessons learnt.
You work a lot with different community groups. What other films are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a number of short films for the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP), all about embedding climate change into Local Government Planning and Service Delivery. I have always had an interest in environmental issues and relish the opportunity to work in this space.
I recorded some footage up in northern Victoria last week and learnt more about the challenging drought conditions facing the farming communities in the Loddon Shire region.
Capturing people in their ‘element’, whether it be in a leadership role in local government, or at a more grassroots community level, I am constantly inspired by people’s spirit and commitment to want to improve and influence positive change in their communities.
What type of feedback have you received so far about the film?
reThink disAbility has received extremely positive feedback from the working group, Surf Coast Shire staff and the many viewers of the film. The women in the working group were thrilled to have their work and campaign documented and all felt that the film will prove to be a powerful tool in communicating their social justice messages to the broader community.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback hasn’t surprised me, all being overwhelmingly positive. The film is clearly an upbeat, positive and powerful communication tool which will assist in spreading important messages for change in the disability sector. The film clearly demonstrates that people with ‘disAbilities’ have a huge contribution to make in all fields of life and that they need to be encouraged and provided with the opportunity to pursue whatever they want.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?
As a filmmaker & storyteller, I am keen to network with other film practitioners and would welcome any future contact, discussion and collaborative opportunities that may result from being on this platform.
I am also passionate about shining a light on important social issues and if, by having this film on this platform, this will enable more people to see it and consider its key messages, then that is an absolute bonus!
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message and audience?
I would be open to discussing my project with a Producer and see whether there might be some common ground and interest in teaming up to further developing this project. I am confident there is more to explore in this space of reThinking disAbility? I would also be interested in exploring options for sending this film to short film festivals.
What type of impact would you like this film to have?
I want people who see this film and realise that people of all ages and abilities can do great things! They can make meaningful contributions to their communities & can lead full and productive lives. The message is simple.
Lastly, what’s a key question that will help spark a debate about this issue and film?
How can government, community organisations & individuals work together to provide people with disAbilities more opportunities to live full and productive lives within their own communities?