Kickstart interested in engaging posAbilities in production of a film for next festival
Camille Jensen

Colin Darge attended the Wide Angle Media (WAM) film festival because he was interested in seeing films made by people who have a disability, but he admits he didn’t know what to expect.

The first film festival in the province to feature films made by people who have a disability not only triggered the full range of emptions in him, ranging from happiness to confidence to sadness, it also intrigued the 32-year-old actor to explore his own potential as a filmmaker. 

“It sure was inspiring,” says Colin, who is a member of the Stage Door Theatre Troupe. “(It made me) think about making my own film to show my disability in a positive light.”

posAbilities members attending the WAM gala opening night.

There may be more opportunities for local films to be made by people who have a disability as a result of WAM, which screened international and local films from two to 50 minutes in length.

Geoff McMurchy, artistic director of Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture which produced WAM in partnership with posAbilities and the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI), says the festival highlighted the need for more films to be made by people who have intellectual disability, and his organization is interested in helping make this a reality.

“I’m really inspired after the festival to engage BACI and posAbilities in the actual production of a film maybe for the next festival in two years,” says Geoff.

“I think it would be very exciting and would be a great collaborative project and something that I think would further BACI and posAbilities’ aims in terms of utilizing the media in a powerful way to get that normalization message across in different and creative ways.”

WAM took place March 22-25 at Vancouver’s Roundhouse Community Theatre. The event’s gala, which Colin attended, was sold out with more than 200 people attending. The event also generated significant media interest with articles on WAM written in numerous community newspapers and blogs, as well as coverage from 24 Hours Vancouver, the Georgia Straight and CBC.

Workshops aimed at helping aspiring filmmakers who have a disability were well-attended, and filmmakers received the rare opportunity to meet one-on-one with film industry leaders from the Canada Council for the Arts, TeleFilm and others.

“The overall feeling from our funders and our community is that we superseded expectations,” says S. Siobhan McCarthy, WAM festival producer.

The next WAM Film Festival will take place in 2014.

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