Film students go in the right direction with disability film award

Two University of Wolverhampton students bagged first place at a unique film festival hosted by Business Disability Forum in London recently.

Young filmmakers from universities across the country were challenged to create a movie in 72 hours for the Forum’s Technology Taskforce Film Festival, sharing their experiences about living and working with disabilities.

William Horsefield and Samuel Ash, Film and Television Production students in the Faculty of Arts, entered a short film demonstrating how technology showcases disabled talent and removes barriers.

In their short film, ‘Big Day’, William and Samuel, who both have hearing difficulties, examine how assistive technology can help someone move into the world of work, through interviews and beyond.

William, 23 from Milton Keynes, said: “I was over the moon that we came first because we put lot of our creative ideas and effort into our film in a very short time.”

Samuel, 19 from Derby, said: “Business Disability Forum TTF Festival gave us the opportunity to relate our own experiences to the competition. After winning the first place award, it shows that we can do it no matter what our disability might be. It is important for people to see our skill over disability. I am immensely proud and it definitely boosted my confidence.”

Dr Gavin Wilson, Lecturer in Film and Television Production at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “I was extremely pleased and proud to accompany William and Sam to the awards ceremony.

“Crucial to their success in beating off competition from students throughout the country in a 72 hour film challenge was how their film met, and exceeded, the brief to use technology to showcase disabled talent.

“What was most gratifying was that their film was entirely conceived, scripted and produced by William and Sam themselves. It’s not often we get to celebrate national award winners, so here are two filmmakers to definitely watch out for in the future.”

Leading employers such as KPMG, Enterprise Rent-Car, Deloitte, Barclays and Transport for London came to the event to gain an insight into what the next generation of disabled talent wants as it enters the world of work.

The annual Technology Taskforce Film Festival was sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and hosted by KPMG and aims to showcase emerging talent.

Lucy Ruck, Technology Taskforce Manager at Business Disability Forum, said: “This year we wanted our Film Festival to showcase the next generation of talent and hear what they have to say on the subject of disability as they prepare to move into the world of work.

“They are part of a generation who have grown up surrounded by technology and who are in most cases digital-native, so it was really interesting to see how disability and technology interact from their perspective. Today’s young people are also among the first to come of age with the legal protection of legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act and Equality Act in place.

“For employers, too, the films give an idea of what today’s students and graduates expect from the workplace.”

The best films won a slot at the Festival as well as a range of prizes donated by Business Disability Forum’s Partner organisations.

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