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What do business, technology and disability have in common? An interview with the winners of the BDF Film Festival

  July 24, 2017   

This year, the BDF challenged aspiring student and graduate filmmakers across the UK to create a film responding to this question: “Business, technology, disability: how does technology showcase disabled talent?” The challenge? They had to create the film within 72 hours!

MyPlus Students’ Club had the privilege of attending the BDF Technology Taskforce film festival last month and watching the films produced by the top three finalists. Today, we’re speaking to William Horsefield and Samuel Ash from the University of Wolverhampton about their winning film, Big Day.

MPSC: What inspired you to create this film?

William: My phone inspired me to make this film because as a deaf person, I always use my phone when I find it hard for me to listen or communicate with hearing people. I write down what I want to say on my phone and show it to them to read, so that it is easier to understand me. This made me think, what if someone could make a powerful mobile app that can easily break down communication barriers between hearing and deaf people. That’s how my idea was born.

Samuel: Business Disability Forum TTF Festival gave us the opportunity to relate our own experiences to the competition. It is important for people to see our skill over disability. In the past, we felt there are often challenges for Deaf filmmakers to get jobs in the industry because it is very competitive and we have to double our efforts. This inspired us to ensure the film conveys a message to people in the media industry that we, young Deaf filmmakers, have the technologies and talent to achieve success too.

MPSC: In the film, ‘Big Day’ refers to a final round job interview that William, your character, attends. Can you tell us about the most memorable job interview experience you’ve had?

William: I have never been to any job interviews before, however my deaf friends have told me stories about what it is like to be in a job interview on the first day. Some of them have had positive experiences but most of them have had negative experiences because the employers had very poor deaf awareness. Some job interviewers even refused to provide a British Sign Language interpreter.

Samuel: Luckily, I have never had the same experience for an interview even though I have had similar experiences of feeling excluded and unimportant. You can see the character’s feeling in the interview, that’s exactly how we felt inside.

MPSC: What’s the best advice you can give to a student with an invisible disability, going into their first job interview?

Samuel: Forget your disability. Be yourself. You need to show you’re passionate, enthusiastic and willing to work and learn.

William: Stop wasting your time being worried about your disability and stop thinking in negative ways for example, “Will they accept me if he/she finds out about my disability?” Your disability is not a problem so you shouldn’t fight it, you can use your disability to your advantage by demonstrating different strengths which might make you stand out amongst other job hunting competitors. So be confident, put on a big smile and show your passion to them.

MPSC: I really enjoyed seeing how the main character adapts to working in a hearing world and is able to bring new ideas to the table because of his experience with disability. Do you think your disability has given you something extra, a plus or a unique skill/perspective that you bring into your work?

Samuel: Being Deaf definitely allows me to be more creative and visual. As a filmmaker, I have a good vision and am always keen on achieving good shots with meaning.

William: My deafness gives me better peripheral vision. It’s very useful when I’m taking on the role of a film director or editor because I enjoy paying a lot of attention to details in the scenes.

MPSC: What career are you looking to pursue in the future? And what qualities are you looking for in an employer?

Samuel: I am currently studying Film & TV Production to become a director or a producer. I believe employers are looking for

people with the right skills, attitude and commitment that can assist the production team to make a good film. Like I said, it is important for employers to see our skill over disability, to do this, they need to be open minded and see how people with disabilities can be valuable to the team.

William: I would like to be a director, editor or visual effect compositor in the future. I am looking for an employer who values candidates with unique skills or perspectives, who can bring new creative ideas, regardless of their disability. I would love to work in a team to help other employees build their paths to obtain their special talents.

Thank you and all the best to the both of you!

Photo credits: William Horsefield

These stories are tagged with: being open being open interview interview deafness deafness technology technology