Contributed by Tatiana Rasco
Lights, camera, action! In December of 2023, the virtual stage was set for an inspiring Connect and Collaborate session hosted by the Home Sharing Support Society BC, featuring none other than the talented and passionate filmmaker Elliott Hedley. With an audience of around 65 attendees, this workshop became a canvas for celebrating resilience, creativity, and the transformative power of storytelling.
The event featured two thought-provoking films — Tying Your Own Shoes by Shira Avni and Don’t Dis My Ability by Elliott himself. Both films explored the experiences of individuals navigating life with disabilities.
Tying Your Own Shoes is a heartwarming animated short that offers an intimate glimpse into the exceptional mindsets and emotional lives of four adult artists with Down syndrome.
Similarly, Don’t Dis My Ability explores the compelling stories of four individuals with disabilities who are determined to be accepted and appreciated for who they are. Elliott’s film gained international recognition when it was showcased at the 2020 Beyond the Curve International Film Festival in Paris, where he emerged as a finalist in the Best Documentary category. This community-driven project sheds light on the need for greater representation of individuals with disabilities in the media, a cause that he passionately champions.
Following the screening of the films, Elliott talks about the importance of portraying different perspectives on screen. Although Hollywood and movies have gotten more inclusive over the years, Elliott emphasizes the need for more representation of people with disabilities. By highlighting their stories, viewers are able to connect with these individuals and understand their experiences.
Reflecting on the evolving nature of storytelling, Elliott shares, “We see people evolving with film itself, but we want to see people evolving with us,” urging the viewers to grow and evolve with the stories unfolding on the screen by stepping into the shoes of the diverse characters being portrayed.
Having studied film at Capilano University, Elliott uses his craft not only as a means of artistic expression but also as a powerful tool for advocacy. Navigating life with Cerebral Palsy, he dedicates himself to uplifting the voices of individuals with disabilities. His commitment extends beyond the screen, as he actively participates as a peer mentor in the posAbilities Social Media Fellowship. Since its beginning in 2021, this program has empowered individuals with disabilities to pursue their social media goals, with Elliott providing valuable insights on content creation.
Elliott wrapped up the event by offering a sneak peek into his upcoming film, “Three Souls,” where he combines his passion for history, fantasy, and filmmaking. Keep an eye out for the latest updates on his upcoming projects and films!