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.