Odhrán stars in not-so-ordinary film

Odhrán Darragh with the IntoFilm award won by the short film in which he appeared, which highlights the reality of living with autism and learning disabilities. My Not So Ordinary Life won Best Live Action 13+ gong at the prestigious ceremony in London Odhrán Darragh with the IntoFilm award won by the short film in which he appeared, which highlights the reality of living with autism and learning disabilities. My Not So Ordinary Life won Best Live Action 13+ gong at the prestigious ceremony in London
By Brónach Ní Thuama

AN 18-year-old South Belfast student has taken the first step on the road to fame after starring in a short film.

Odhrán Darragh from Moor Park Mews attends St Gerard’s Educational Resource Centre on the Blacks Road. It was through Mencap that Odhrán helped make and star in a short film called My Not So Ordinary Life, a short film which highlighted awareness about autism and learning disabilities. 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 they feel 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, 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.

Speaking to the South Belfast News Odhrán’s proud dad Aidan said: “Odhrán has gone from strength to strength since attending St Gerard’s school and the Mencap Youth Forum in South Belfast. Odhrán has always been fascinated with zombies and he got to play the part of one in the film, it just meant the world to him.

“He always said he wanted to become famous and now he has. He went to an awards ceremony in London in February and he got to meet Daniel Craig, that was a great moment for him and for everyone involved in the film, he’s also always wanted to be in the paper just to prove his fame!”

Aidan added: “It’s wonderful to see how this group of young people saw this project through from start to finish. They each played a role by writing, acting, producing, editing and the like. The experience has taught them valuable skills that they can hopefully work with in the future. It really gave Odhrán a new lease of life.

“We would like to thank all those involved in the film for teaching these young people a new set of skills and also all the staff of Mencap as well as St Gerard’s school for helping our young people achieve their dreams.”

My Not So Ordinary Life received 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 a ceremony in London’s premiere cinema, Odeon Leicester Square.

“We are thrilled that such an inspirational short film has been rewarded,” said Sean Kelly of IntoFilm NI. “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.”

My Not So Ordinary Life can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/n2abuw3

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