Young people with disabilities from the Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS), of the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, want to set the record straight on how their stories and experiences are represented on film. From this intention sprung the YDAS short film project, a collection of short films by and about young people with disabilities which will be screened as part of National Youth Week on Thursday at 5pm at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Federation Square Melbourne.
The current perception of people with disabilities in mainstream media is often associated with negative or misguided connotations that commonly reinforce stereotypes. “We’re either objects of tragedy or we are placed on a pedestal and called inspirational.” (Stella Young, former YDAS Steering Committee member and writer/director/performer - ‘Carbon Whore’).
YDAS supports increased visibility of young people with disabilities in the media and encourages representations that are non-stereotypical and reflect the diverse range of passions, interests, roles and backgrounds of young people with disabilities in the community. To achieve this, young people must be given an opportunity to participate in screen culture on their own terms, to ensure that the next generation see their experience reflected in screen culture alongside their non-disabled peers.
As part of the YDAS shorts project, YDAS engaged four writer/directors to produce short films that promote the voice and concerns of young people with a disability. Melbourne documentary filmmaker Kate Gillick, and emerging filmmakers Emma Buckley, Dustin Feneley and Stella Young were engaged by the YDAS Steering Committee to develop a number of short films about themes and issues that were important to them. Industry support was offered from leading production equipment rental companies (Inspiration Studios, Panavision, LEMAC) and professional film crew to achieve some great end-products.
The project promoted collaboration between media professionals and young people with a disability. Young people were engaged in all areas of the project including as film makers, script consultants, performers and as decision-makers in an executive steering group.
The short films, It’s a Blind Chick Thing, Carbon Whore, Eskimo Kiss and Anything You Can Do have been shown in both national and international film festivals including The Perth International Film Festival, the London Australian Film Festival, Australia’s Little Big Shots and Finland’s Kynnys Kino.
Tickets for this Thursday’s screening can be purchased by calling the ACMI Box Office (03) 8663 2583.
For interviews contact Bec Feldman on 9267 3712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.