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Director Olivier Bernier to Make Film About Inclusive Education Search for Son

  • Date: 2018/09/26 Press Release* : Skye Redman - skye@89up.org
  • Synopsis : US director Olivier Bernier awarded $400,000 to make film about personal search for son's inclusive education, Bernier's film was selected from over 150 entries from around the world for the Videocamp Film Fund 2018.

Main Document

New York based director Olivier Bernier has been selected as the recipient of the $400,000 Videocamp Film Fund 2018.

Bernier wowed the judging panel with his proposal for an intimate documentary following his own search for an inclusive school for his son Emilio, who was born with Down Syndrome.

Olivier Bernier says:

"As a director, this is not only a story I will be telling - this is a story I am living. When I was a child, I didn't go to an inclusive school. I was never exposed to anyone with intellectual disabilities and I was ill prepared for my own son's arrival. I want to use this opportunity to make sure this never happens to anyone again."

The film will take the audience on a journey of discovery, following Bernier and his wife Hilda, a public school teacher, as they find an inclusive school for their son Emilio.

U.S. Film Director Olivier Bernier.About This Image: U.S. Film Director Olivier Bernier. Incorporating footage shot throughout Emilio's life, starting with Emilio's birth and Bernier and his wife getting the news that their son had Down Syndrome, the film will tell the intimate story of young parents learning to navigate a world which all too often fails to include their son.

Bringing his personal experiences together with a global outlook, the film will compare the state of inclusive education in the US to other school systems around the world. The film will be produced by an inclusive crew and fully accessible set, and audio description and sign language will be a priority throughout.

Bernier's first feature documentary, The Sunset Sky, was an official selection at the Montreal World Film Festival and the East Harlem International Film Festival. His other work has been shown at prestigious festivals including including two films at DOCNYC, Big Sky, Bend Film Festival, and two films at Rooftop Film Series.

Videocamp is an online platform for free public screenings of social impact films.

Groups of over five people gathered anywhere around the world can hold a free screening of any film from the Videocamp catalogue, turning town squares, classrooms, and even living rooms into cinemas. So far they've enabled 24,000 screenings in more than 100 countries.

Baby playing with toys on carpeted floor.About This Image: Baby playing with toys on carpeted floor.

Carolina Pasquali from Videocamp says:

"Olivier's proposal really speaks to Videocamp's values and will make a powerful film to inspire change. This film has the potential to transform the outlook of the public and policymakers alike towards inclusive education".

Forget Me Not was selected by a jury of highly respected members of the film industry and top specialists on the subject, including award-winning African American filmmaker Yvonne Welbon (Chicken & Egg Pictures), Raúl Niño Zambrano (International Documentary Film festival, Amsterdam), Rosangela Berman-Bieler (UNICEF), Marcos Nisti (Alana), Paola Castillo (Chile Doc) and Cecilie Bolvinkel (European Doc Network).

UNICEF Global Senior Adviser on Children with Disabilities, Rosangela Berman-Bieler, says:

"By sharing his personal story, Olivier Bernier has a real opportunity to change the discussion on inclusive education."

Cecilie Bolvinkel says:

"This is a unique opportunity to explore the path to inclusive education from the very beginning. As a filmmaker and a father, Bernier has access to the first-hand experiences of a family going through this search for a child with a disability to be included".

Forget Me Not will be available in Videocamp's free catalogue of social impact films.

Other entrants to the Film Fund showed the experiences of children with disabilities from all walks of life, and how inclusivity in their education can shape their lives. From the story of a pioneering inclusive school in Indonesia, to teachers in Finland, Brazil, and Germany coming together to share their experiences of inclusive classrooms, the Fund has inspired filmmakers to address an issue which is too often overlooked.

Videocamp Information

Videocamp is an online platform for free public screenings of social impact films.

This year's Videocamp Film Fund inspired hundreds of filmmakers to creatively tackle issues of disability and representation in film. Around the world, 1 billion people - or 1 in 7 - have a disability, yet they do not see themselves represented often enough on screen, or behind the camera.

Videocamp is the world's largest social impact film fund, and this year it has partnered with UNICEF to back a film about "inclusive education". Inclusive education is all about educating children with disabilities alongside their peers, to the benefit of everyone.

Videocamp is working with filmmakers to shed light on the experiences of children with and without disabilities, growing up together without barriers. Studies suggest that there are anywhere between 93 million and 150 million children across the world living with a disability, and around half of them are out of school.

Research shows that children with disabilities educated in inclusive environments are around 11 per cent more likely to find competitive employment, and 10 per cent more likely to live independently as adults, compared to children with disabilities who are not educated in inclusive environments.

Videocamp believes in democratising access to film - as they say, films don't change the world, but people do, and films have the power to change people. So it's essential to them to make films available as widely as possible, and then it's up to the power of film to educate, inspire, and provoke social change.

Previous Stories on Videocamp

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