Blind teen’s inspiring story to screen in NYC
It’s from small South Waikato town Putaruru to the metropolis of New York City’s Times Square for Jayke Hopa and his inspirational story.
The Jayke Hopa Story, which is a short film about the Putaruru College year 10 student who is completely blind, is an official selection for the 2016 All American High School Film Festival.
The film, which was made in 2015 by then year 10 extension students Sophie Meszaros, Shelly-ann Cochrane, Isabelle Pearson, and Lily Bendy showing Jayke’s daily life at school, musical talents, and ever radiating smile, will be screened at the AMC Empire Theatre in New York City’s Times Square from October 7-9.
Impressively it has made the final from over 1850 submissions and 40 countries.
The film was originally made for the New Zealand Focus on Ability short film festival where it was shortlisted.
It also won the Wireless Storytelling Award during the Someday Challenge film competition last year and went on to become the challenge’s most watched film and shared over 4000 times around the world.
Jayke, who suffers from optic nerve hypoplasia, septo-optic dysplasia, and nystagmus, said he was amazed his story had reached so many people.
‘‘I got an email saying it was going to be playing in New York’s Times Square and I jumped on Facebook and it had been shared a lot so I am quite stoked everyone knows my name.
The Jayke Hopa Story has gone worldwide, autographs,’’ he joked.
Sophie, who is in a band with Jayke called Good Vibes, said making the cut came as a complete surprise.
‘‘We had no idea we were in it but part of your prize at the Someday Challenge is that they enter you in an international film festival.
‘‘It was a bit weird when we got the email saying they would love us to come to New York to watch it because it’s a pretty big deal and very exciting,’’ she said.
‘‘We would really like to go over and we are definitely considering it because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a film play in Times Square.’’
It was always the group’s intention to make the film.
‘‘He has a real cool story to tell and he is involved in everything so it was something we have always wanted to highlight,’’ she said.