St Ursulas College Year 12 student Niahm Jarvis has been selected as a finalist in the 2017 Focus on Ability Film Awards, Thursday, July 27, 2017.
St Ursulas College Year 12 student Niahm Jarvis has been selected as a finalist in the 2017 Focus on Ability Film Awards, Thursday, July 27, 2017. Kevin Farmer

Heartfelt student documentary focuses on ability

TRICIA Dietz may have an intellectual disability, but that doesn't stop her from living her life to the fullest.

Three quarters of her brain isn't functioning the way that it should, but she can still read, write, talk and walk.

She can also grasp technology, which gives her a way to communicate with her family.

But Ms Dietz isn't immune from the judgment of strangers, something that she says was hurtful to her in Just Listen, a short documentary by her niece Niamh Jarvis, a Year 12 student at St Ursula's College in Toowoomba.

Niamh's documentary, which was part of her assessment this year in her film, television and new media studies class, has been named a finalist in the 2017 Focus on Ability Film Awards.

The festival asks filmmakers to "focus on the ability" of people with a disability and tell a story on film for the world to view.

Niamh said her family was involved in disability work and she wanted to shine a light on the struggles her aunt faced in her daily life.

"In our society a lot of people judge other people," she said.

"They look at someone and make up a story about them even if they don't know anything about them."

She said it was important to give people with disabilities the opportunity to show who they were and that they were just like everyone else.

The film includes Ms Dietz's other niece and nephew, who describe their aunt as a "pretty princess" and a kind and beautiful person.

"The children give a fresh perspective and there's no prejudice," Niamh said.

"They're not thinking about her disability, they're just seeing her as a kind person.

"We should all be like them."

She said her aunt was excited to be in the film and to see the finished product.

Find out more about the competition at www.focusonability.com.au.
 



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