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Inclusive film making

February 12, 2015

On Sunday night, my movie No God, No Master was honored with two awards at the 17th annual Northampton International Film Festival—the Audience Choice Award and Jury Prize for Best Feature Film. I flew to Massachusetts to attend a closing night screening of my film, where I met the festival’s ambitious programmers and at the end of the evening accepted the awards. But it was another film that played minutes before mine that captured my attention—Australian filmmaker Genevieve Clay-Smith’s The Interviewer, a smart entry that garnered the festival’s Best Short Film award.

The Interviewer was produced by Eleanor Winkler and Bus Stop Films, a pioneering organization in New South Wales that’s focused on creating film making environments that include individuals who wouldn’t ordinarily be found in front of or behind the camera. The film centers around a job applicant at a prestigious law firm, who finds himself being interviewed by a young man in a suit who happens to have Down’s syndrome. Surprised that this person is his interviewer, he follows him into a room where the walls are adorned with playful paintings and the desk covered with cartoonish figurines. The interviewer begins to ask him questions about why he left his previous job and what he thinks he can bring to the new firm. This is the setup for a twist that is both heartwarming and poignant in its delivery, a story told in the span of twenty minutes.

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