Glen Innes’ people with disabilities celebrate A Sense of Place

Johnny Grant, Janelle Proctor, Jackie Bourne, William Adams on set while filming. Photo: Suzie Wicks
Johnny Grant, Janelle Proctor, Jackie Bourne, William Adams on set while filming. Photo: Suzie Wicks

A Sense of Place – an often touching film – had its Glen Innes premiere at the Chapel Theatre on Monday to commemorate International Day of People with Disability.

Glen Innes locals – all with disabilities – talk about the places that are meaningful to them, from the homes where they work and play with their dogs, and the churches where they marry, to the Standing Stones.

Glen Innes Severn Council mayor Carol Sparks opened the event, hosted by the Glen Innes Arts Council.

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“The film highlights that people with disability have the same aspirations and goals as the rest of us,” Cr Sparks said.

Its focus on ability rather than disability was, she said, in line with council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2017-2021.

Film-maker Suzie Wicks with some of its stars. Photo: Carol Sparks

Film-maker Suzie Wicks with some of its stars. Photo: Carol Sparks

POWER (People Organised Will Encourage Richness), a film group of Glen residents with disabilities, put the film together with the help of Uralla’s Fatmoon Studios.

The film was the brainchild of Glen Innes local Jackie Bourne, who has mild intellectual disability.

“We wanted to create a film that showcases Glen Innes, while creating a way for people with all different abilities to be included,” Jackie said.

“We don’t want to focus on disability. Labels are for jars.”

Watch "A Sense of Place"

Jackie was keen to get people with disability together to mentor each other, and think outside the square.

She contacted Uralla-based film-maker Suzie Wicks, of Fatmoon Studios. They decided a short film was a great way to get people together, and to think creatively.

“My hope for this film was to get people together, and get them to dream big,” Jackie said.

“I want the audience to recognise the fact that even though we do have disabilities, we are capable of so much more.”

Michael Butler, Richard Howard, Thelma Coughlin, Renae McKimm, Diane Bellamy. Photo: Suzie Wicks

Michael Butler, Richard Howard, Thelma Coughlin, Renae McKimm, Diane Bellamy. Photo: Suzie Wicks

POWER Glen Innes, in partnership with Fatmoon Studios, have run video and storytelling workshops over the last few months.

Jackie added: “It’s a little bit of magic for people to see themselves on the telly. We all watch a lot of television, so it’s great to see ourselves up there on screen.”

Participant Renae McKimm said: “This film shows that people with disability have a story. We are just like anybody else. We have talents, we can put a film together, with guidance, and show inclusion.”

The film was first screened at the North West Film Festival, Inverell, in late November.

The project has been generously supported by Glen Innes Severn Council, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability, Pathfinders, Cooperative Life, Glen Innes Services Club, Glen Innes Lions Club, Quota, Crossroads Church, and Fatmoon Studios.

Participants from local support Glen Industries, HWNS, and Life Choices regularly attended.