Inclusive film festival

Those living with disabilities in Whyalla and surrounds were treated to a day of art and film at the Middleback Arts Centre on Tuesday as part of the Sit Down Shut Up and Watch Film Festival.

Members of the YMCA LEAP Takers group run and local students participated in a mosaic art workshop run by Port Lincoln artist Karen Carr.

It was one of three workshops by the Whyalla City Council in co-operation with Country Arts SA, the Australian Government Regional Arts Fund, TUTTI and the City of Whyalla Youth Advisory Committee (YAC).

Monday’s workshop was initiated by twins Zia and Cyanne Westerman who live with muscular dystrophy.

Attendees took time to assemble the mosaic pieces into shapes, marking their contribution to what will become a mosaic art installation at the Whyalla Foreshore in the future.

Ms Carr said it was a stimulating activity for the 53 people participating.

“There seemed to be a real buzz here, they were all very excited about the colours and the textures and being part of something bigger,” she said.

“Having the chance to make their own choices about colour, style and shapes was great for them. A lot of people loved the textures of the tiles.

“The teamwork, too, was fantastic. There was really beautiful language shared between each team working on a particular section.”

After the mosaic workshop was complete the attendees were given the opportunity to view a collection of movies from the Sit Down Shut Up and Watch Film Festival.

All films shown on the day were created by filmmakers living with a disability. A wide variety of movies were screened including comedies, documentaries and thrillers.

Coordinator Gail Rostig said it was important for the disabled to see themselves represented in film and media by disabled actors.

“It was really powerful for them to see that,” she said.

“It’s opened up some good conversations about what we can do in the future to create positive opportunities for people living with disabilities.”

Organiser Deb Hughes said it was a real ‘feel good’ day.

“Everyone was super enthusiastic, they smashed out the mosaic very quickly,” she said.