New film school launches for Victorians with a disability

“Our students don’t always make films about disability. They just make films.”

Films produced by the organization’s students over the past 17 years have appeared at festivals around the world and one – Stairs, shot in Mongolia was recently submitted for consideration for an Oscar nomination for Best Short Film

Behind the scenes on a Bus Stop Films production. credit:Bus Stop Films

“The attitude people have to disability often comes because they have low expectations – whereas we have very high expectations,” says Ms Corbin-Matchett.

Ms Graham will also learn key life skills to help her employment prospects, learning how to work in a team and travel independently to her classes at RMIT’s city campus on Sundays while she’s undertaking Year 11 VCE next year.

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In recent weeks, Australia’s former disability discrimination commissioner has called out the country’s “abysmal” employment rate of people with a disability.

Graeme Innes used his appearance at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability in late November to call for a television advertisement quota to shift attitudes.

People with disabilities make up just 1 per cent of the workforce of the nation’s 10 biggest employers, the royal commission heard. They have a labor force participation rate of only 53 per cent compared to 84 per cent for those without a disability.

Ms Corban-Matchett said Bus Stop Films had placed students in paid employment in the screen industry as production assistants and roles in post-production. At least one student has worked on the production of Marvel’s new Thor film shot in Australia.

“You don’t get a job on a Marvel production out of pity – they don’t have time for pity hires,” she said. “They need to see that you’re going to contribute and you’re going to be a valuable employee.”

A key strategy of the Bus Stop Films model is employing film graduates without disabilities as tutors to create relationships for future employment, Ms Corban-Matchett said.

“We often find production companies’ or individuals’ reluctance to employ people with disability comes down to a lack of confidence,” she said.

“This is an industry based on relationships. So within your network, if you don’t have people with a disability, you’re less likely to hire them.”

Two Bus Stop films visible and What was it like? are streaming on ABC iView.

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