Cre­at­ing aware­ness

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - By KYLIE WIL­SON

A DRIVE to tell per­sonal sto­ries has led for­mer Wan­garatta res­i­dent Jared Har­g­reaves into film­mak­ing.

He has been cre­ative ever since child­hood and in his teen years, rel­ished mak­ing movies with friends, in­clud­ing close mate Nick­laus Del­li­cas­telli.

“Hav­ing a shared pas­sion for film made my days in Wan­garatta great be­cause we helped push each other to what we want to do,” he said of their friend­ship.

“Liv­ing in Wang and hav­ing friends want­ing to act in our shorts was great, even with lack of ex­pe­ri­ence we all worked to­gether, were en­thu­si­as­tic and just had a lot of fun.”

Jared was di­ag­nosed with Asperger syn­drome in his late teens.

He is al­ready mak­ing a splash with his work with a re­cently cre­ated short film, Mr Joe, nom­i­nated in the Open En­trant - Short Film cat­e­gory in the Fo­cus on Abil­ity (FOA) awards.

The film is an in­tensely per­sonal piece about liv­ing with Asperger syn­drome and stars fel­low for­mer lo­cal Sam Har­g­reaves (no re­la­tion) who also lives with the con­di­tion.

“As a film­maker and try­ing to find my iden­tity, I try out for many com­pe­ti­tions and events just to see what I am ca­pa­ble of,” he said.

He said he first found out about the FOA awards from a friend and it spurred on his cre­ative juices.

“Orig­i­nally, the idea was a doc­u­men­tary of my own life, but in the end I found it too generic,” Jared said.

“As I be­came more in­volved with autism re­lated pro­grams and more movies, I re­cy­cled that idea but turned it into a biopic style.

“I felt for some rea­son that I needed to make this movie.

“Good or bad, I felt that my per­sonal story needed to be told.

“Also the stuff por­trayed in Mr Joe all hap­pened while liv­ing in Wan­garatta, so liv­ing there has left a mark on my movie mak­ing ca­reer and per­sonal life.

“I felt this type of movie’s mes­sage was sim­ply you could have any dis­abil­ity, be rich or poor, great or small - if you have a pas­sion you should just get out there and do it and don’t let what­ever it is you have be a fac­tor on your dreams.

“I knew I was dif­fer­ent some­how,” even be­fore be­ing told he had Asperger syn­drome, and over the years he has learned to man­age it.

“Ba­si­cally I find peo­ple have ei­ther a very vivid imag­i­na­tion or are ex­tremely ob­sessed with one or two things in par­tic­u­lar.

“My lead ac­tor Sam Har­g­reaves loves act­ing, I love mak­ing movies.

“Liv­ing with any form of autism re­ally can de­pend on the per­son, learn­ing can be dif­fi­cult and com­mon in­ter­ac­tions with peo­ple can be dif­fi­cult.

“But as I’ve got­ten older it’s be­come eas­ier to man­age it, es­pe­cially gain­ing knowl­edge of it, peo­ple wouldn’t even know I had it un­less I told them these days.”

As for the fu­ture, his am­bi­tion is sim­ply to “work with what I know and have and make the best movies I can.

“I’ve been mak­ing movies since I was about 10 and that’s all I want to keep do­ing,” he said.

“I want to be­come the best writer/ di­rec­tor pos­si­ble and stick as close to the in­de­pen­dent scene as much as pos­si­ble be­cause a lot of great work is out there be­ing un­ac­knowl­edged.”

Now in their ninth year, the Fo­cus on Abil­ity (FOA) awards are de­signed to en­cour­age film­mak­ers to fo­cus on the abil­ity of peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity.

Votes closed on Au­gust 7 but win­ners of the Fo­cus on Abil­ity Awards will be an­nounced in Syd­ney on Septem­ber 6.

Mr Joe can be seen on­line at www. fo­cu­son­abil­ity.com.au/FOA/films/Mr_Joe_1201. html.

IN FO­CUS: Jared Har­g­reaves work­ing with ac­tor Sam Har­g­reaves (no re­la­tion) dur­ing the mak­ing of his short film, Mr Joe.

MOVIE MAGIC: Stills from Jared Har­g­reaves’ film, Mr Joe.

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