A STUDENT-DIRECTED short film shining a light on autism is making waves at film festivals around the world.
Written, directed and produced by 19-year-old Jade Chamberlain, My Name is Grace is garnering international attention for both its stunning cinematography and poignant message.
Mt Pleasant actor Charlotte Weber and Booragoon student filmmaker and composer Scott Majidi were both involved in the project and said its success came as no surprise.
“As soon as I started reading the script I was blown away,” Weber said.
“It was so well-written it made all the actors’ lives very easy and I remember just bawling my eyes out the first time I read through it.”
Majidi said the music for the film came easily after an initial viewing.
“When the visuals and the performances and the story are as good as they are in My Name is Grace, it is really a composer’s paradise because you get a sense of the music from the film itself,” he said.
Shot earlier this year in the Perth Hills, My Name is Grace is set in the 1970s and tells the story of a young girl with autism hidden from the world by her ashamed and deeply religious family.
Weber has a 13-year-old son with ADHD while Majidi overcame a speech impediment as a child. Both said the story resonated with them deeply.
“The film highlights the idea of families sometimes trying to sweep things that they think are problems under the rug rather than dealing with the issues at hand,” Majidi said.
“That was the case a lot in the 1970s but even today I think that theme is something that has got to keep getting revisited because it’s still so relevant.”
Weber said she hoped the film drove home the point that it was important to give anyone living with a disability the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
My Name is Grace is touring the festival circuit but has already picked up awards, including best actress and best supporting actress for Weber and the Australian Cinematographers Society’s silver award for director of photography Simon Akkerman.
Majidi has also cast Weber in his dystopian suspense drama Little Raven, due to premiere at Backlot Cinema in December.