In a groundbreaking initiative, Bus Stop Films is set to embark on its largest tour yet, featuring 18 inclusively made short films produced through the Accessible Film Studies Program. The tour kicks off with a star-studded gala event in Perth on Sunday, December 3, hosted by acclaimed Perth actor Julia Hales, who lives with Down syndrome.
These short films, created by 180 filmmakers, all young adults with mild/moderate intellectual disability or autism, are the result of the collaborative efforts of the participants in the Accessible Film Studies Program and industry professionals who served as mentors on set.
The diverse lineup includes dramas, documentaries, comedies, and even a WWE-inspired rock musical, showcasing the creativity and talent of the filmmakers involved.
Bus Stop Films, recently awarded the 2023 SPA Award for Breakthrough Business of the Year, stands as a disability-led not-for-profit social enterprise. The organization utilizes filmmaking and the film industry to elevate the visibility of people with disabilities, both in front of and behind the camera. With a mission to create films with, for, and about people with disabilities from diverse communities and backgrounds, Bus Stop Films has gained recognition for its impactful work.
The 2023 showcase films were produced by Bus Stop Films’ COO and resident producer Dianna La Grassa, co-producer Cyna Strachan, and a team of 10 Inclusive Producers’ Attachments. Support from state screen agencies such as Screen NSW, VicScreen, SAFC, Screen Tasmania, Screen Canberra, Screen Queensland, and ScreenWest, along with Screen Producers Australia, made the project possible.
Gala events are set to bring #inclusivefilmmaking to the big screen, celebrating the creativity, passion, and hard work of Bus Stop Films’ industry mentors, cast, crew, and supporters. The tour spans seven cities, commencing in Perth on International Day of People with Disability, December 3, and continues through Brisbane, Launceston, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, and Sydney.
Each gala event will be hosted by prominent figures, including Julia Hales in Perth, Anna McGahan in Brisbane, Ronan Soussa and Elle Dawe in Sydney, Kimmie Lovegrove in Melbourne, April Watson in Canberra, Mathew Garwood in Launceston, and Alirio Zavarce in Adelaide.
Tracey Corbin-Matchett OAM, CEO of Bus Stop Films, expressed her pride in the students, stating, “I am so proud of our students, and I can’t wait to watch their films with our generous Bus Stop community. Our Showcase events always leave my heart bursting.”
The 2023 showcase tour is generously sponsored by Netflix and Woolworths Group, with additional support from Screen Queensland and Screen NSW.
Geoff Trappett, Woolworths Group Disability Inclusion Lead, emphasized the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. He said, “The fantastic work that Bus Stop Films enables and is evidenced through this year’s films is an opportunity for us to consider the role we can play in taking a more inclusive approach to the work we do. We’re delighted to be a sponsor, and we hope everyone enjoys the night.”
As pioneers of streaming, Netflix recognizes the importance of representation on screen and accessibility. Through their Fund for Creative Equity, designed to support underrepresented groups and increase diversity in the industry, Netflix will sponsor Bus Stop Films’ 2023 Showcase tour and provide future employment opportunities for an intern on an upcoming Netflix production in Australia.
All events start at 6:30 pm sharp, with captioned films and Auslan interpretation provided. Tickets are priced at $25 and $10 for concessions, including refreshments, and can be purchased here.