Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LOOK LOCAL -

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 ac­tress 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 and 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 and has al­ready picked up a num­ber of 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 own dystopian sus­pense drama Lit­tle Raven, due to pre­miere at Back­lot Cinema in De­cem­ber.

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