BACI proud co-sponsor of first disability film festival

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Inspirational humourist David Roche debuting at Wide Angle Media Festival
Tuesday February 21, 2012 — Camille Jensen
The Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) is proud to be co-sponsoring the upcoming Wide Angle Media Festival (WAM), which provides opportunities for people of different abilities to share their perspectives through media, says Carol Broomhall, BACI’s senior manager of communications and resource development.

“There’s always something we can learn by seeing life through another person’s perspective,” says Carol, adding viewing life through a disability lens can be “a really valuable thing.”

WAM is British Columbia’s first film festival to feature filmmakers who have a disability. Presented by Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture, the event takes place at Vancouver’s Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre March 22-25.

Carol says the theme of the festival – “wide angle” – refers to the spirit of expansiveness and inclusion that lies at the core of disability arts, and to the widest range of media genres and formats.

She says the film festival’s intent is to broaden audiences for works by media artists with disabilities; to celebrate the spectrum of genres, styles and vision of those artists; and to support the creation of new works.

An outcome BACI would like to see is people inspired to share their stories and perspectives using media, says Carol.

“The more understanding of the range of experiences and abilities (we have), the better,” she says.

First-time filmmaker and inspirational humourist David Roche will be one of five Canadian filmmakers with a disability debuting at the event.

David says while he’s always loved to be on stage engaging others, he knows he can reach more people through the artistic medium of film, which inspired him to broaden his work.

“I love theatre, I love being with an audience but if you want to reach more people, this is what you have to do,” David says.

David describes his film Beauty School as a funny film set in a beauty salon where an esthetician, played by David, encounters two women, one of whom thinks she needs a face transplant. Beauty School has a “reasonably happy ending,” says David, who hopes viewers will come away laughing and encouraged from his screenplay and first-ever fictional acting performance.

He says there is an underlying message in the film that beauty comes from within – something David says he’s learned in the 20 years he’s been on stage talking about his facial disfigurement using humour from the heart. He says he’s also come to realize that everyone feels disfigured in some way and if it’s not dealt with, emotional and spiritual maturity cannot be realized. This place of fear and doubt also leaves one vulnerable to bullies and predators.

The film, in which he was encouraged and mentored by fellow WAM Festival film maker Jan Derbyshire and others, is another step in David’s intensely personal artistic journey.

“I feel this is an opportunity to put out what I’ve learned,” he says, adding it’s “way past the time” for people who have a disability to do this.

“We have something to bring, we have something to teach,” David says.

To learn more about WAM, click here.

Related Article:
Unique festival promotes work by filmmakers who have a disability

If you have a story to share, or feedback on this article, please contact Camille at camille(at)axiomnews.ca, or call 604-800-6599.

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