After two exciting and successful photography projects with TreeHouse School and Ambitious College learners, Indira Ramraj (Digital Media Specialist at TreeHouse) and I decided to go further and coach eight teenagers and young adults with autism to make their own short films and create the Action! Film Festival.
Over a period of 12 weeks from September 2015 till January 2016, we worked with Aaron, Bilal, Charlie, Eli, Faisal, Kwei, Mite and Zach, and helped create their own movie. The films were shown just before Christmas at TreeHouse School.
The first sessions were about finding out what sort of films they liked and help them develop their ideas. Then the shooting bit was a lot of fun, Charlie and Bilal worked very well together, filming each other in turns and involving staff an pupils from TreeHouse. Charlie played Mr Bean’s son, a character he created himself and wrote all the mischief he was going to achieve in his black&white comedy silent movie! Bilal went for a special TreeHouse news report.
Aaron and Mite went for experimental films, using different materials, colours and objects, speed and technical effects.
Faisal based his film on a music and a video-clip he liked, telling the story of a learner leaving his school and being independent.
Kwei also based his film on his favourite track and played with filming techniques, people coming in and out of TreeHouse.
Zach also experimented and filmed his own paths all around the school.
Eli created a storyboard with Disney characters, made them with clay and shot his own animation film.
The Action! Film Festival was an extraordinary adventure. Yes, Indira and I taught a few things to the kids who took part but they did teach us as well, pushing the limits of what can be done with people with autism further.
I really would like to thank everyone who made this project happen: Indira, Aaron, Bilal, Charlie, Eli, Faisal, Kwei, Mite, Zach and all the staff from TreeHouse School and Ambitious About Autism involved.