Sydney resident Digby Webster is a talented artist who dreams of one day moving out of home. His friend Tom Elenor fantasizes about stardom but struggles with the responsibilities that come with living independently. Award-winning actress Tracie Sammut now wants to teach acting and put a stop to industry stereotyping. Each share a disability that society doesn’t always understand, or accommodate. As they take their first strides towards independence, they face new challenges and opportunities that will test their resolve. In their struggle to find a balance between dreams and reality, can they fly – or will they fall? The debut feature film by director Ehsan Knopf.
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The film is currently in production and is seeking philanthropic support. We are looking for both post-production funding and funding for our education and outreach campaign. All donations are tax deductible. Follow this link to find out more about the project. Click ‘Donate to a film’ and complete your registration details in order to make a donation. Thank you for your support!
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROJECT
Flying Solo is a social impact film that aims to inspire change and community engagement surrounding the present national shortfall in supported accommodation for those with intellectual disabilities. As an entire generation of aging carers retire or pass away, leaving thousands of adults with intellectual disability effectively homeless, state and federal governments have been left reeling as they struggle to cope with this new responsibility. This demographic has been severely impacted by a lack of federal and state accommodation funding as well as appropriate or suitable housing models like supported accommodation, which maximise opportunities for independence. Such opportunities are otherwise minimal; those who decide to or are forced to leave home (for example, after losing a carer) are statistically more likely to end up living in group homes. For many, group homes lead to a restricted lifestyle, poor quality of life and dependence. We hope that through the film, we can catalyse communities to help address this shortfall and ensure happy, healthy, independent futures for those members with intellectual disabilities.
An Australian study concluded in 2009 that many adults with intellectually disability
‘live desperate and lonely lives of exclusion and isolation. The institutions that once housed them may be closed, but the inequity remains…Australians with disabilities now find themselves socially, culturally and politically isolated.’
Supported accommodation promises to turn this around, offering individuals with intellectual disability a chance at independence, social inclusion and becoming active community members. Good housing is a foundation for productive and meaningful engagement in life roles, which is key to long-term stability and mental health. For adults with intellectual disabilities, local supported accommodation is empowering: it offers the support mechanisms necessary for transitioning to independent life in the community, i.e. the comfort of their own apartment with the benefit of communal spaces shared by other residents and the support of a live-in carer. This kind of housing also ensures that the individual is not uprooted from the community they grew up in, and that their local knowledge and existing relationships are preserved. Such knowledge and relationships form the bedrock of the life skills these individuals and their carers have fought so long and hard to develop. Without them, carers often witness a rapid deterioration in living conditions among their charges and a loss of these vital skills, leading once again to dependence. As some of society’s most vulnerable members, we owe it to individuals like Digby to ensure they have a stable, secure future and that their needs are addressed by community and policy decisions. By promoting the building of more supported accommodation households, we hope to increase opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities to have happy, healthy, independent lives and continue contributing to their local communities.