Inclusive Film Research and Development
Supported by Clwstwr
Disabled people are seriously under-represented in both screen content and production. For learning disabled and/or autistic (LD/A) people, numbers are even lower.
Our Clwstwr project explores how screen content could be made in an authentically inclusive way for LD/A actors, with the actors and their voices involved from the outset.
What new processes might be needed to create inclusive storytelling? Could we replicate our approach to theatre but in film? What other methods exist?
The project aims to incite significant, long-lasting change by encouraging the screen industries to work more inclusively.
Only 5% of screen workers consider themselves to be D/deaf and/or disabled. Even without research, it is clear that film is nowhere near representative of the UK population and has a lot of work to do to change this.
BFI Diversity Standards Report 2020
Where are all the disabled people on screen? We must increase representation or risk reinforcing damaging stereotypes.
Caroline Casey, The Independent
There have been 59 actors who've received Oscar nominations for playing characters with disabilities. Only one was disabled. Imagine how much better those stories would have been if authored by disabled performers. Personally I think it'd have been revolutionary.
Jack Thorne @jackthorne
Dr Sita Thomas (Hijinx’s Clwstwr Project Researcher) conducted research into the work of numerous established inclusive companies in theatre, television and film production, focusing on their missions, values, ethos and their approach to creating work.
After the research stage our aim was to apply the Hijinx method, and others uncovered in the interviews, to the early development of feature film Being Normal. Due to the impact of Covid, we were only able to partially do this as working on Zoom had definite limitations.
Hidden/Craith – Series 3.
Severn Screen approached Hijinx as they knew that one of this series leads would be a character with a learning disability and/or autism. They wanted to create and cast the role authentically. Commitment to the process from the producers and senior creatives from early stage was essential to process’s success and the character’s authenticity.
Short film created over Zoom using a close approximation of the Hijinx method. Because the story of this film centred around a Zoom call, Zoom was a suitable (although still not perfect) medium on which to develop the project – unlike ‘Being Normal’.
What we discovered.
- Inclusivity in the screen industries IS possible – but there is a lot of work to do.
- There is definitely a keen and eager market – producers are starting to see the artistic as well as financial benefits to inclusive storytelling.
- There is a need for inclusion across all sectors of the screen industry, not just in how work is developed / a script is created. From how things are produced to how things are marketed.
- Because of this there is a suite of potential products we can develop: bespoke communications training, consultancy, digital guide/toolkit, advocacy network, register/agency for creative enablers.
- Hijinx are uniquely placed to lead this work – almost all the organisations Sita Thomas met in her research cited Hijinx as being at the forefront of inclusive practice.
- There are wider benefits to working inclusively: the creative work is stronger, and stories are bolder and more nuanced. Production teams are energised, connected and open in completely different ways. Above all, stories that have for so long been ignored are given space to flourish.
Download the full report
Photo credits Ryan Eddleston and Huw Walters
Triongl is a TV and Film production company established in 2017 by Nora Ostler Spiteri and Alec Spiteri. Fellow company director Gethin Scourfield joined in 2018 following a year as acting drama commissioning editor for S4C. Their combined credits include Keeping Faith, Hinterland and The Miniaturist.Find out more