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06 06 2019 - Media release

ABC and Screen Australia announce DisRupted films


ABC and Screen Australia are pleased to announce the three successful films selected for DisRupted following a nation-wide call out in October 2018.

The films are all led by young Australian creatives with disability and supported by some of Australia’s best production companies with the broadcast on ABC ME set to premiere on the International Day of People with Disability, 3rd December 2019. Australian kids will be drawn into the funny and clever stories that are full of heart and capture what it’s like to be a young person with disability in Australia.

DisRupted provides these talented emerging filmmakers a career changing opportunity to devise and lead the creative authorship of their film, empowering them to develop their skills as storytellers and deliver authentic stories for audiences.  The films provide the filmmakers with the opportunity to disrupt and reframe how disability is understood.

All three films explore universal themes through unique perspectives: newly discovered independence, finding your own voice, the power of friendship and your relationship to the world around you. Creator and director Johanna Garvin draws on her own experiences in Rocky and Me, a dramatised telling of when eleven-year-old Stella gets her first wheelchair “Rocky” and with it a new sense of freedom. And Then Something Changed, created by Eliza Hull, tells the story of a happy-go-lucky eight-year-old Louis who has Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and wakes up to what he thinks will be just another normal school day but for some strange reason the world around him just isn’t working! The Legend of Burnout Barry, created and directed by Isaac Elliot, follows speed demon and record holder Josh "Wheely" Wilson who learns that there’s someone in town faster than him, setting him on a course to challenge the elusive and legendary Burnout Barry to a race.

Libbie Doherty, ABC Head of Children’s Content said: “The ABC is so proud to be working with these talented creators who bring fresh perspectives, enthusiasm in spades and a love of filmmaking to their stellar projects. The films are not only imaginative and entertaining but also promise to challenge young Australians to reflect on the experience of disability and how it is understood. We can’t wait to share and celebrate these films with kids on 3rd December, the International Day of People with Disability”

Nerida Moore, Head of Development at Screen Australia said: “What makes this initiative so important is that it gives creatives with disability the opportunity to tell their stories in their own way. These films are insightful and address themes of empowerment, accessibility, friendship and inclusion. It’s vital that stories on our screens reflect the diversity of the world around us and we are proud to partner with the ABC to support these filmmakers to tell these powerful stories.”

DisRupted is an ABC and Screen Australia initiated content program, the creators are supported by experienced industry filmmakers CJZ, Sticky Pictures and LateNite Films to realise their creative vision. ABC and Screen Australia Executives will provide editorial guidance and support including Jan Stradling, Anna Allbury and Natalie Robinson-Hurst for ABC Children’s and Ester Harding from Screen Australia.

As part of the ABC’s International Day of People with Disability celebrations DisRupted films will premiere 3rd December on ABC ME and the ABC ME app.

For more information, please visit the website – www.abc.net.au/disrupted

DisRupted synopses

Rocky and Me

Brought to us by Johanna Garvin, Holly Lyons and CJZ, Rocky and Me follows the story of eleven-year-old Stella who gets her first wheelchair, and along with it, her independence. Stella names her first set of wheels "Rocky.”  

This wheelchair means Stella can finally keep up with her mates - Rocky gives her a sense of freedom and confidence she’s never experienced before. Stella is a passionate swimmer, but until now she only swims in secret. The new lifeguard, Roxie, offers to coach her - and Stella feels like she has something to prove to her classmates. Based on the true misadventures of co-creator Johanna Garvin, Rocky and Me is an empowering story with a universal message - nothing is impossible!

Production Info

Creative Team: Johanna Garvin: Co-Creator, Co-Writer, Co-Producer, Director, Holly Lyons: Co-Writer, Co-Creator, Script Producer, Claire Tonkin: Executive Producer (CJZ), Toni Malone: Director of Production (CJZ) and Selina Forbes: Production Supervisor (CJZ).

And Then Something Changed

Eight-year-old Louis wakes up to what he thinks is going to be just another normal school day, but something has changed. Gone are the motorised backpacks, electric stairs, self-dressing clothes and elevating floors that Louis relies on. In this film we discover what it's like to be a child with Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and what it's like to navigate a world that isn't built for you.  Portraying a realistic and un-sensationalised representation of a 'day in the life' of Louis – through his reflections – explores a present-day world where accessibility is still an issue.

Production Info
Main Cast: Theo Watson-Bonnice

Creative Team: Keiran Watson-Bonnice: Creator, Director, Writer, Eliza Hull: Creator, Producer, Additional Writing, Donna Andrews and Stu Connolly: Executive Producers, Hermione Merry: Additional Writing, Carly Myers: Script Consultant, Matthew Myers: Art Department Assistant.

The Legend of Burnout Barry

Wheely, Brent and Shay are an inseparable trio of teenagers, hell bent on having a good time and pushing the limits of whatʼs possible. When speed demon and record holder Josh “Wheely” Wilson learns that there might be someone in town faster than him, he sets about finding an elusive legend by the name of Burnout Barry - to challenge him to a race. But when his obsession with being the record holder becomes more important than his friends, Wheely risks losing more than just the title.

Production Info

Creative Team: Isaac Elliott: Creator, Director, Nicholas Colla: Creator, Producer, Nicolette Minster: Creator, Writer, Chris Hocking: Producer. From an original idea by Isaac Elliott. Production company: LateNite Films.


Anna Benjamin | ABC TV Publicity

+ 61 2 8333 2325 | [email protected]

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