FILM KIDS

Film Kids is a heart-warming, behind-the-scenes account of teens with intellectual disabilities dreaming, writing and starring in their own short films.

The feature documentary also captures the stories of their parents who recount the challenges of diagnosis, early intervention, discrimination, and education. Film Kids is an epic and intimate, fly-on-the-wall glimpse into the world of students with intellectual disability, their families, and teachers in special education high school.

When the students of St Edmunds were given the opportunity to make short films for the first time, they leapt at the chance. Joe writes a humorous lament on the pain of sitting on hard seats and finds a surprising solution. Caitlin shares her imagination for her birthday party which includes some unexpected guests. Little chefs provide a 3-course dining experience for their teachers and parents. Ivan, with profound hearing loss, dreams of building a skateboard and riding it at a skate park. But can he skate? Michaella, a tiny bundle of energy, is a ‘pretty good singer’, she will tell you.

Intercut with this filmmaking journey, various parents share their stories. Barbara is a single mother raising Joe, who once asked her ‘what is special needs?’ Megan, mother of Max, explains sensory issues, and Max’s inability to cope with the sound of crying babies. David and Kirsten, describe the challenges of finding the right school for their autistic daughter Alice. Lian’s son David is difficult to understand due to Dyspraxia. Lian explains it was ‘like winning the lottery’ to find the right school for David. Anne’s son Alistair has Down syndrome and used to do something high risk on multiple occasions. Madeleine’s daughter Ella has Cornelia de Lange syndrome. At just 9 months of age her parents were told Ella would never walk or talk. Michaella, Erin’s daughter, has a huge personality, and at just a metre tall, they have a happy story to tell. Their stories encompass the commitment, dedication and passion of the skilled staff at St Edmunds.

It's the end of year Presentation Day at St Edmunds, and it’s the world premiere of their short films. Joe’s Hard Seats rolls first and the packed hall of parents, teachers and students, laugh uproariously at how Joe solves the problem of the hard seats. Caitlin’s Birthday Party is a heart-felt expression of Caitlin’s world. Elephants, possums and kangaroos come to life in an unexpected way, and the little chefs (her classmates) showcase their fine dining mastery. Ivan hits the skate park with his freshly made skateboard crafted at the school. Ivan rides down the skate ramp, a moment that every parent strives for. Skate Park proves dreams do come true with the right support.

The parents share their hopes for their child’s future. “Be nice to have a crystal ball to see what that will be, but I don’t” says Lian.

Cut to nine years later, we catch up with David, Joe, Max, Alistair, Ella, Alice and Michaella. Where are they now?

 

"A joyous celebration." SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

DURATION

1 x 104-minutes

BROADCASTER

SBS Australia

YEAR OF PRODUCTION

2022

PRODUCED BY

Certain Pictures

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION

Australia

Writer/ Director/ Producer

Bernard Weber

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