Mencap young people make award-winning film featuring Belfast teenager

Horrible Histories actor Laurence Rickard presented young people from Mencap's Northern Ireland Youth Forum with the Best Live Action Film - 13 and Over Award at the 2017 Into Film Awards at ODEON Leicester Square, London.

A GROUP of local young people with learning disabilities have enjoyed a memorable trip to London's Leicester Square where they picked up an award for a film they created, which highlighted awareness about autism and learning disabilities.

My Not So Ordinary Life features 18-year-old Belfast girl Janine Carapatan in the lead role of a teenager who finds that, due to the sensory processing difficulties she has, all sorts of everyday experiences lead her into dramatic situations. A loud concert becomes an ear-splitting horror film, household lights become sci-fi robot lasers and multiple people talking to her can become a melodrama in this multi-genre short film raising awareness about autism and learning disability.

The film's storyline was developed among a group of 12 young people from Mencap's Youth Forum in Belfast. As everyone in the group had a learning disability, they felt it was really important to raise awareness of this, as younger and older people with a learning disability can become invisible in society.

The six-month film project was funded by Into Film's See It Make It initiatives, which empowers young people through the medium of film. Facilitated by local film-maker Michael MacBroom from Xrayeye Films (Endless Life), the young people, aged between 16 and 25, met to explore film skills, as well as developing their confidence and interviewing skills before writing, producing, directing and acting in their short.

My Not So Ordinary Life received UK-wide recognition by winning Best Live Action 13+ category at the Into Film 2017 National Film Awards. The young film-makers were presented with the award by Horrible Histories actor Laurence Rickard at the ceremony in London's premiere cinema, Odeon Leicester Square.

"We are thrilled that such an inspirational short film has been rewarded. It's another example how the power of film can give young people a voice and medium of expression. I congratulate all of the young people from Mencap on making such a wonderful short film and I would actively encourage every educator to explore the potential that film can have within your school," Sean Kelly of IntoFilm NI said.

:: My Not So Ordinary Life can be viewed at

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