Down and Out
Natalie Kennedy - 19'30"
Billy (Tommy Jessop) has had people stare at him all of his life on account of him having Down Syndrome. He is a young man fighting for equality and his own autonomy. Danny (Christopher Faith) is Billy’s brother and the two couldn't be more different. While one fights for independence, the other fights for survival in a difficult world.
Both will have to confront their personal demons on a fateful day in Blackpool that will leave them both changed forever.
Accompanied by Michelle "Shell" (Mia Vore), these lost siblings will realise how much they really need each other, as the very foundation of brotherly love is tested. But will it be in time to save them both?
Director not to present this film for Public, the Jury can award the film through private screening.
Natalie Kennedy was born in Manchester, England in 1984. Her mother is a fashion designer and manufacturer and her father is a musician, actor and playwright. Natalie is best known for her work directing, though she has also worked on a number of notable short and feature films as a cinematographer and assistant director. She started off in the theatre and grew up watching family members onstage, and quickly went into acting from a young age. This developed into writing and producing original plays, as well as working on other productions. Her work as a photographer naturally led into filmmaking, and though Natalie's main focus is now in film she still works in theatre from time to time. Her play Parents Without Children had a recent nomination for the prestigious Manchester Theatre Awards, and has also won her Best Director for the North West Theatre Awards. Natalie has a 1st class degree from Salford University in 'Media and Performance' and has been developing her career as a film director and cinematographer, with her short films receiving worldwide appreciation, festival recognition and noted industry attention, including BAFTA award winning writer Geoff Thompson, and award winning film director David Attwood, amongst others.
As a filmmaker I want to tackle issues that challenge people and that can change perceptions in a positive way. I want to make stories about people that can hopefully make a difference in all aspects of life. With this film I want to help overcome out-dated stereotypes about disability and show that we are all unique in our own way as trends begin to change. Our film is just a story that focuses on two brothers, who are on their own individual paths. We haven’t focused in a direct way on downs syndrome in the story, as it seamlessly integrates with the narrative itself, rather than pointing it out in an obvious way. Just as in the real world, every unique individual fits into place in the grander story of life, and so this should be reflected in the media. The perception has shifted but not enough, there is still a long way to go yet and it is our responsibility to bring further light to the topic. If we can make the use of disabled actors a more common thing, show a general audience why there should not be such a divide, and also inspire other people, disabled or not, that anything is possible with hard work and belief, then we have truly achieved our goal.