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What is the Appetite for Inclusion on the Other Side of the World?

On Friday night I sat in an audience filled with French speaking Belgians, and watched as my wife received an ongoing applause that lasted for, what felt like forever. It was amazing to see our commitment to inclusive filmmaking being received so positively.

For the past 5 weeks, Genevieve and I have been travelling throughout the UK and Europe sharing our message of how inclusion makes society a better place. We have been privileged to share with advocates, entrepreneurs and corporations in London. Genevieve spoke at the Mental Health Film Festival in Scotland and presented to a captivated group of creatives, writers and producers at BBC Children’s department in Manchester.

Last week we spent six days at the Extraordinary Film Festival in Namur, Belgium. We had been invited to talk about inclusive filmmaking at a 3hr round table, represent ‘Kill Off’, our latest short film at Bus Stop Films, which is in competition at the festival and showcase a retrospective of inclusive projects.

I have to admit, at the conclusion of the screening where 7 of our projects were screened it was particularly overwhelming. I sat back and watched an engaged audience, in a foreign city about as far away from Sydney as you can get, honouring Genevieve as an artist who has not just told one story, but dedicated her filmmaking career to advocating for under represented community members.

Standing on stage, even Genevieve didn’t quite know how to respond.

At the 3 hour round table we were amazed to sit in a room filled with people wearing headphones to listen to a French translator interpreting as we spoke. We had incredible feedback on the inclusive filmmaking process. In Belgium, there is nothing like what we are doing in Australia and it has been fantastic to have many filmmakers share with us that they are inspired to adapt an inclusive approach when making their own work.

Needless to say, it’s been an emotional and encouraging experience for us both.

I guess we can get a little too close to our work that we forget the impact these stories have on communities.

These simple tools of storytelling through film are changing perceptions and expectations, making pathways for others and highlighting significant gaps in our society.

Even though we needed translators in Belgium, the messages of these stories are transcending language across the globe and making a real impact.

This is why we do what we do.

Until we do not need to advocate because we as society have created the platforms for all people to be included, we will continue to tell the stories we tell.

Henry Smith

Henry is one of those rare creative types who can switch from creativity and ideation to logistics and screen business with the elegance of those fancy quick costume change acts. He is also the co-founder of Taste Creative.

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