Introducing our Ambassadors, Abby Earl and Nathan Basha!
Bus Stop Films (BSF) is excited to welcome Abby Earl, star of Channel 7’s ‘A Place to Call Home’, and Nathan Basha, international speaker and award winning disability employment advocate, into the roles of ambassadors for Bus Stop Films. Together they bring with them a wealth of knowledge about the film industry and a passion to help us usher more diversity and inclusion into our cinematic landscape.
For almost five years, Nathan Basha has eagerly participated in BSF workshops. He’s a high achiever and in 2015 he won the award for Excellence in the Employment Inclusion at the NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards. Recently, he was a finalist in the 2016 NSW Young Australian of the Year Awards as well as the 2016 Young Achiever Awards.
Co-founder, Genevieve Clay-Smith believed it was a ‘no brainer’ to ask if Nathan would take up the role, “He’s been advocating for us for quite sometime – speaking at our events, doing media for us and promoting us, and it felt like the natural next step, to make official what he’s already been doing”
Nathan’s drive to see greater amounts of inclusion within the workforce combined with his passion for filmmaking, makes him the perfect ambassador for Bus Stop Films. While BSF feels incredibly fortunate to have Nathan in our network, it was Nathan’s passion to give back to the organisation which saw him take up the position.
“They have helped me to fulfill my passion to learn about film. It’s helped me a lot in terms of knowledge, I know more about Film Noir and Mise en scene, it’s a really good subject.”
While Nathan has been in the BSF family for quite some time, Logie nominated actress Abby Earl is a relatively new member to the tribe. Abby was first introduced to the students and volunteers of BSF when in February this year she auditioned for the role of Emma in the organisation’s upcoming film, “Kill Off”.
“When I met the family, I felt an instant connection to all the people involved. I felt a real synchronicity to what we were all doing, it felt right and it felt like I had a lot to offer. Bus Stop is not self serving, so you have to be able to bring something to the table, and I really felt like I could.”
Genevieve Clay-Smith also felt the connection, when she saw Abby in the audition with the BSF students for ‘Kill Off’. She knew Abby would be a perfect team member.
“Abby is a great actress, she didn’t have to audition for the role. But a part of the filmmaking program includes the students learning about auditions, so it was important that Abby give up time in her busy schedule to audition. She was so humble about coming into our classroom and auditioning for the class, and she treated the students as equals, that’s when I knew we would have a long lasting relationship with her outside the film project.”
Both ambassadors feel that the work of Bus Stop Films is driving real and meaningful change in the film industry. Nathan in particular has seen first hand the issue of prejudice and low expectations in the work force – while he enjoys two jobs, one at Nova 96.9 and one at creative agency, Taste Creative, he knows that not everyone with a disability gets to be included and there is still a long way to go.
“I DEFINITELY BELIEVE IT’S THE MIND SETS – THE FIXED AND MIXED MIND SETS THAT CREATE BARRIERS AND WE NEED TO BREAK THROUGH THAT AND ALLOW MORE PEOPLE TO HAVE A CHANCE IN LIFE AND ALLOW PEOPLE’S ABILITY THE CHANCE TO SHINE. WHAT YOU SEE ON THE OUTSIDE IS ONE THING, BUT WHAT YOU SEE ON THE INSIDE IS MORE. ” (NATHAN BASHA)
Nathan believes that the impact of Bus Stop can’t be underestimated, “I think Bus Stop Films will change everything, it’s all about diversity and equality. More people can experience what it’s like to be on a film set and see how a film is made and gain more knowledge – it will change so many lives.”
For Abby, the opportunity to be an ambassador for Bus Stop Films strikes a deep chord, “I was introduced to the organisation at a time where I was very disillusioned with our industry and what it could provide people with and then Bus Stop kinda cracked that open for me and completely inspired me. I just feel an imperative to give back.”
The WAPPA trained actress understands what it’s like to be judged by the eye of the industry, “We’ve all got things, I have anxiety – I don’t want a director to look at me and judge my capability on that. We all have little things, that we think are our weaknesses but in fact they contribute to shaping us into who we are and making us unique.” (Abby Earl)
During her time working with BSF, Abby witnessed first hand the transformative effect of inclusive filmmaking, “I saw students on Kill Off burst out of their shells, I think it’s because we all feel good when we have a job to do and when we feel good at that job, and when we feel integral to the team achieving something. It creates that sense of worth and importance – that’s really great for anyone’s self-esteem.”
Both ambassadors understand that inclusion in film and television is not just a ‘good thing’ to do – nor is it a one-way street, only benefiting those who don’t usually get the chance to participate. Inclusion makes for a richer film industry with stories that break away from the status quo.
“Even though I have Down Syndrome, you can’t see it on me. It doesn’t define me. We need more films that tell that story, that see beyond,” said Nathan.
In reflecting on her time working with Bus Stop Films, Abby is adamant that inclusive filmmaking is not harder or more difficult, there’s in fact no disparity, only benefits to making films that focus on equal opportunity.
“IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE WORK, THERE WERE NO EGOS INVOLVED WHEN WE MADE KILL OFF. I THINK THAT WHEN YOU DISCREDIT PEOPLE IN SOCIETY YOU’RE ACTUALLY MISSING OUT ON A WHOLE REALM OF RICHNESS…. THE TEAM AT BUS STOP INSPIRE ME, BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE STUDENTS AS HAVING A DISABILITY, THEY JUST BRING A DIFFERENT SET OF SKILLS – IT’S A MUCH BETTER WAY OF LOOKING AT LIFE. NO ONE IS WITHOUT A STORY OR WITHOUT WORTH – IT JUST COMES IN A DIFFERENT PACKAGE.” (ABBY EARL)
Abby and Nathan will be kicking off their first duties as ambassadors on September 24th at the 2016 Bus Stop Films showcase, taking place at Hoyts at Fox Studios. The Showcase will include an exclusive screening of Kill Off, starring Abby and American Horror Story star, Jamie Brewer. Abby and Nathan will be presenting awards to the students from the filmmaking classes on the night.
“I’m So Excited For The Next Chapter Of Bus Stop, It’s Upwards And Onwards From Here.” – Nathan Basha