What do you do during a global pandemic when you cannot go outside and lead the life you wish? You might think people with disability would have a more difficult time during the COVID restrictions but you would be surprised.
For the past two years, we’ve hosted an event showcasing the talents of people with disability on International Day of People with Disability as a commitment to celebrating diversity and creating a city with a network of accessible community facilities and services. This year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Council partnered with Mixed Nuts Media, a local organisation staffed by people with psychiatric disability to produce a short film called, The COVID Chronicles.
Peter Lane, mentor to Mixed Nuts Media, said they were faced with challenges from the start – COVID being the obvious one. “We had to make this documentary in a completely different way because we couldn’t go and film people in private or in public,” he said.
The first hurdle was moving away from traditional filmmaking to capturing most of the footage on Zoom. Each shot took a couple of run-throughs as the crew would talk through the first interview with each participant and their support person and instructed them on how to adjust their lighting or position. These are not easy tasks if you are visually impaired or have mobility issues.
Jeremy Williams, editor and director, learnt a host of new technical skills and met “extraordinary people on Zoom.” Natham Raco, the interviewer, echoed the same. “These experiences are definitely going to help me in the next chapter of my life. But most of all, it’s about building confidence and relationships in the disability sector,” he said. Natham did get another video project as a result of working on this film.
The result is not a story about hardship but a story about resilience. Sue Armstrong, chairperson of Mixed Nuts Media, says about people with disability “to achieve the ordinary goals the rest of us take for granted, they face these challenges every day and have to develop strategies to deal with challenges just to survive an ordinary life.”