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Short film festival shines spotlight on less visible disabilities

Wollongong and Shellharbour City Councils will today launch the ‘Celebration of Ability Short Film Festival’ to mark the 2020 International Day of People with Disabilities.

For more than 20 years, Shellharbour and Wollongong Councils have worked with services across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven to provide a range of activities to promote the day.

Due to COVID19, organisers had to think creatively about how to mark the occasion. The result is a series of short films focusing on this year’s theme, ‘Not all disabilities are visible’.

The collaborative project features residents across the two local government areas telling their stories about the impact their less visible disabilities have on their lives.

Less visible disabilities include mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing disabilities, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions and more.

Shellharbour Mayor Councillor Marianne Saliba described the participants’ stories as insightful and inspiring and encouraged everyone to view the films.

“The stories captured in the short films show the diversity of ‘invisible’ disabilities. It is important for the community to understand that not all disabilities are immediately apparent,” Cr Saliba said.

“I sincerely thank all of the participants for sharing their experiences. Living with a disability can be difficult enough without having to deal with the assumptions and judgements of others. This joint project between our Councils is a vital step in educating the community on the importance of kindness and compassion,” Cr Saliba said.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said that the 2020 International Day of People with Disability was a reminder to treat everyone with kindness and consideration.

“This joint project is an important step towards overcoming the damaging myths and stereotypes that surround people with disability. Not all disabilities are visible and it’s impossible to guess the challenges a person may face just by their appearance.” Cr Bradbery said.

“It takes nothing to treat others with kindness and compassion, but your actions can have a profound impact on the lives of others. I encourage everyone to take a moment to watch the short videos and listen to the lived experience of people with disability in our community,” he said.

The Celebration of Ability Short Film Festival was launched at the Shellharbour Civic Centre on Thursday 3 December.

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