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US director Olivier Bernier has been awarded $400,000 to make a film about the search for his son’s inclusive education. Olivier Bernier’s film was selected from more than 150 entries around the world for the Videocamp Film Fund 2018.
New York-based director, Olivier Bernier, has been selected as the recipient of the $400,000 Videocamp Film Fund 2018. Bernier wowed the judging panel with his proposal for an intimate documentary following his own search for an inclusive school for his son Emilio, who was born with Down Syndrome. Olivier said:
“As a director, this is not only a story I will be telling – this is a story I am living. When I was a child, I didn’t go to an inclusive school. I was never exposed to anyone with intellectual disabilities and I was ill prepared for my own son’s arrival. I want to use this opportunity to make sure this never happens to anyone again.”
The film will take the audience on a journey of discovery, following Bernier and his wife Hilda, a public school teacher, as they find an inclusive school for their son Emilio.
Incorporating footage shot throughout Emilio’s life, starting with Emilio’s birth and Bernier and his wife getting the news that their son had Down Syndrome, the film will tell the intimate story of young parents learning to navigate a world which all too often fails to include their son.
Bringing his personal experiences together with a global outlook, the film will compare the state of inclusive education in the US to other school systems around the world. The film will be produced by an inclusive crew and fully accessible set, and audio description and sign language will be a priority throughout. It should be released on Videocamp in 2020.
Videos for social good
Videocamp is an online platform for free public screenings of social impact films. Groups of more than five people gathered anywhere around the world can hold a free screening of any film from the Videocamp catalogue. This turns town squares, classrooms, and even living rooms into cinemas.
So far they’ve enabled 24,000 screenings in more than 100 countries. Carolina Pasquali from Videocamp said:
“Olivier’s proposal really speaks to Videocamp’s values and will make a powerful film to inspire change. This film has the potential to transform the outlook of the public and policymakers alike towards inclusive education”.
UNICEF Global Senior Adviser on Children with Disabilities, Rosangela Berman-Bieler, said:
“By sharing his personal story, Olivier Bernier has a real opportunity to change the discussion on inclusive education.”
Other entrants to the Film Fund showed the experiences of children with disabilities from all walks of life, and how inclusivity in their education can shape their lives.
It included the story of a pioneering inclusive school in Indonesia and teachers from Finland, Brazil, and Germany coming together to share their experiences of inclusive classrooms. The Fund has inspired filmmakers to address an issue that is too often overlooked.
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