Like many 17-year-olds, Henrietta Graham dreams of one day being on the big screen, The Age reports. What would be her ideal role?
“A love story,” she giggles. Her favourite films include romantic comedies Mamma Mia and Letters to Juliet. She’d also love to snag a role on Neighbours one day.
“I would like to be like [the character] Chloe [played by April Rose] because I like her character and the clothes she wears.”
Ms Graham will get her first real crack at making her screen dreams a reality as a participant in the debut year of a film school in Melbourne specifically for people living with an intellectual disability.
Not-for-profit film school and production company Bus Stop Films last week officially launched a school in Melbourne in partnership with RMIT University for the 2022 academic year.
Ms Graham, who lives with Down Syndrome, will learn everything about filmmaking from script-writing, camera work, auditioning talent, set design, costuming and post-production as well as be mentored by industry leaders. At the end of the year-long course, everyone in the class will have made a short film.
While recent reality TV show successes such as Employable Me and Love on the Spectrum have increased the visibility of Australians with a disability, Bus Stop Films CEO Tracey Corban-Matchett says the philosophy of her film school is that true diversity is when people with a disability are makers of TV and film –not just the subject – and the focus isn’t solely on their disability.
“We know whoever’s behind the camera really informs who we see on screen,” says Ms Corban-Matchett.
“Our students don’t always make films about disability. They just make films.”