Sutherland Shire has become the backdrop for another Bus Stop Films including film production, where the three protagonists also have long-term students from local non-profit Bus Stop Films’ Accessible Film Studies Program, held in collaboration with Australian Film Television and the Radio School (AFTRS).
Starring in the short romantic comedy is Gerard O’Dwyer from the Tropfest-winning film Be my brother; Chris Bunton from the movie Lonely wolf (who also starred Hugo Weaving and Tilda Swinton); and newcomer Ashley Khule.
O’Dwyer, Mr Bunton and Mrs Khule have Down’s syndrome.
Called For the better, for the worse, the film looks at dating and living with disabilities and was developed and directed by Ironbark Films’ Julian Neuhaus, a resident of Kirrawee who teaches the program for accessible film studies, as well as 12 of his students with intellectual disabilities who worked with professional members of crew to put the film together.
The film was shot in a private residence in Miranda, where rehearsals took place at Bus Stop Film’s CEO Tracey Corbin-Matchett’s home in Gymea. She said she was “excited” that her community was hosting another inclusive film.
“We have opened up enrollments for our 2022 program and we would love to let other young adults with disabilities in Shire know about the program,” Ms Corbin-Matchett said.
We need a more meaningful representation of people with disabilities on screen.
The actor Mr. Bunton, who lives in St. Clair, has been a longtime participant with Bus Stop Films and said he would highly recommend it.
“We need a more meaningful representation of people with disabilities on screen. There are opportunities for people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera,” Mr Bunton said.
“We want to show our abilities and our talent, and we also want to break down the perception of disability in society, in education and employment and people’s everyday lives.”
He said participants had the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and gain hands-on experience in all areas of the filmmaking process, from screenwriting to acting, lighting and sound.
Teacher and director, Mr. Neuhaus, said he hoped the film would be shown at festivals around the world, and thanked the “amazing crew” who came on board the project and gave their wisdom to Bus Stop Films students.
“It has been invaluable to our students. The benefits of it are immense in the positive impact it has,” Mr Neuhaus said.