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Netflix and Bus Stop Films Partner to Increase Representation on Australian Production Sets

03/12/2023

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Netflix and Bus Stop Films Partner to Increase Representation on Australian Production Sets

Social Impact

03 December 2023

GlobalAustralia

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Australia is home to world-class talent, both on and off screen, and its crucial that we contribute to building a strong future for our local industry.

We've partnered with Bus Stop Films, an organisation whose core mission is to make films with, for and about people from diverse backgrounds and abilities, to support their 2023 Showcase - a national tour featuring eighteen short films inclusively made by 180 filmmakers with mild/moderate intellectual disability or autism, produced through Bus Stop Films' Accessible Film Studies Program. Netflix is also supporting the placement of a paid intern, to be selected and supported in partnership with Bus Stop Films, as an attachment on an upcoming Netflix production in Australia.

We spoke with Bus Stop Films' CEO Tracey Corbin-Matchett OAM on the importance of inclusive filmmaking and creating opportunities that ensure our industry is sustainable - and accessible - for many years to come.

Tell us a bit about your journey and what led you to Bus Stop Films.

Well it's been an amazing journey on the bus! I actually got my start in TV almost 20 years ago when my hubby was the straight guy, in the pilot for the Aussie version of Queer Eye For a Straight Guy and I fell in love with this amazing sector. I am a total policy geek and I was working at Screen NSW in stakeholder engagement and industry development managing their strategies such as She Shoots to support women in camera and sound, and Screenability which was then a new strategy to support more people with disabilities into work in film and TV. One of my colleagues told me about Bus Stop Films and their amazing work, so I connected with the co-founder Genevieve Clay-Smith for Screenability. I am always making friends, so after moving on from Screen NSW I picked up Bus Stop Films as a client of my small business, a communications company . And that part time gig led to becoming the CEO of the best company ever!

How have you drawn from your own personal experiences to inform the work you do at Bus Stop Films?

I have been actively involved in the disability community for many years as my daughter is Deaf and I am hard of hearing. As a social worker I worked in community programs and policy in social housing and domestic violence service before moving into film and TV. I have an innate passion for seeing the world be a fairer and more kind place and through my personal and professional experiences I have an understanding of the perspective of people with disabilities and how fairer policy and programs can benefit marginalised groups. This helps me to deliver on the key aspects of our work in education, creativity, advocacy and employment.

Bus Stop Films' 2023 Showcase is the biggest yet. How do you see the tour impacting the communities you represent?

The tour will re-frame how they feel about disability and bring such pride to our participants and their local communities who worked on the films. Our Launceston program is just 3 amazing young people with disabilities and they have made this awesome film called Ron's Creek, starring Rhys Muldoon about a small town grappling with bad internet. It's hilariously funny and so very Tasmanian. We shot it in a tiny town called Lilydale, about 30 minutes from Launceston and it is brilliant. The class are so proud of their film, and they should be, the film will show them, their families and their community their creativity, skill and humour. And after the showcase, the films will be entered into festivals around the world, taking their message of advocacy with them.

How do attachment programs - like the one Netflix is supporting - benefit the industry?

They will not only offer paid employment to a person with disabilities, which means income, capacity building and networking, they will also build confidence in the cast and crew they work with to feel more at ease in working alongside or employing people with disability. Our industry is very much an industry about relationships and who you know, and getting a foot in the door is tough. For a person with disabilities, even with great skills and knowledge it is hard to access the networks to tap into work. Attachment programs help break down barriers and build up the confidence and industry experience of the individual, which helps them gain future employment. It's a win-win.

What other opportunities do you hope to create with Bus Stop Films?

We are excited to be in final development of our first ever feature film, Baby Cat,which will be a fully inclusively made production, and feature an amazing actor with Down syndrome, Olivia Hargroder, in the lead role. Advocacy is also a critical part of our work, so were thrilled to announce were hosting the first ever summit to explore disability employment in film, TV and commercial production. The event will be held at Bondi Beach in late 2024, and will bring together practitioners, commissioners and policy makers from the disability, film, TV, commercial advertising, broadcast and production sectors to explore, elevate and celebrate the employment of people with disability across the screen industry, on both sides of the camera and above and below the line. And because we like to dream big at the bus we hope to take our work all the way to Hollywood, changing lives and minds all the way to LA!

Netflix recognises the importance of diverse and inclusive representation on and off screen. As pioneers of streaming, we are proud to have made entertainment more accessible than before and know that there is more to be done. Netflix is committed to delivering more inclusive and accessible entertainment to the world including our diverse
LINK: https://about.netflix.com/en/news/netflix-and-bus-stop-films-partner-t...
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