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Short film exploring relationships for people living with a disability premiers on Valentine’s Day

Julia Firak Photography

VALIANT, a new ground-breaking short film created by people living with a disability premieres online today with the message that everyone, including people living with a disability, has the right to intimacy, love and healthy relationships.

Jointly made by award-winning inclusive film production organisation Bus Stop Films and leading disability service provider Northcott, VALIANT also highlights that consent is important every day, not just on Valentine’s Day.

VALIANT features diverse talents including actors living with disability, together with emerging Indigenous actor Nagli Shaw, to authentically explore breakups, intimacy and dating through four heart-warming stories.

Tracey Corbin-Matchett, CEO of Bus Stop Films said the idea for the film came about after watching young adults with disability meet and form new relationships while participating in courses run by Bus Stop Films.

“From our own experiences with young adults with disability, we realised there were not enough resources about relationships and consent for young people, especially those with disability. We wanted to make this film so young adults with disability, and their parents and carers can access it and learn from it,” she said.

Written by acclaimed screenwriter Emily Dash, and directed by filmmaker Claudia Bailey, the content for VALIANT was developed by 12 young adults with disability as part of the Bus Stop Films Accessible Film Studies Program, supported by Northcott. Film industry dynamo Courtney Gibson is the Executive Producer of the film.

To create the storyline for VALIANT, the students workshopped potential situations and challenges that people with disability may face in relationships, and discussed how they could be handled.

As well as facilitating these workshops alongside Bus Stop Films, Northcott’s Sexuality and Relationship Education Team created an educational guide to accompany the film. The guide features conversation starters, tips and advice to help people with disability, and the wider community, understand and build healthy and safe relationships of all kinds.

“Film is a powerful medium to educate and empower. Using Bus Stop Film’s inclusive filmmaking approach, people with disability have driven the narrative of VALIANT, and worked in the production on both sides of the camera.

‘This is a beautiful film with a powerful message, and most important of all, it was inclusively made,” Ms Corbin-Matchett said.

Northcott’s CEO Liz Forsyth said Northcott was proud to partner with Bus Stop Films.

“Our Sexuality and Relationship Education Service is the first of its kind by an Australian disability provider.

“We set up this service because we believe everyone has the right to intimacy and building healthy relationships, including people with disability.

“Over the years we have become aware of a real lack of resources in this area for people with disability.

“Coupled with the education guide, VALIANT is a great way for people with disability, their parents, carers and support networks to learn about relationships and start important conversations about sexuality, consent and dating,” Ms Forsyth said.

VALIANT was funded by an Australian Government Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grant from the Australian Department of Social Services.

VALIANT premieres on 14 February 2022, Valentine’s Day. The film and educational guide will be available freely online at https://northcott.com.au/sexuality-and-relationshipeducation/valiantfilm

Follow the hashtags #sharethelove, #inclusivefilmmaking and #valiant

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