Actually Films writer/director Dave Thomas launches crowdfunding campaign for Aretha, a new short film which aims to address negative misconceptions about Down Syndrome.

Thomas, who has worked as a director, producer and writer for many of Ireland’s media including RTE, Newstalk, and the national press and won many awards for his work including the RTE Radio’s series Outside the Box, has launched a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to raise €20,000 to make his short film Aretha which will be produced by Actually Films.

Having co-founded APIC, the first national arts centre for people with disabilities in Ireland and winning several major awards, he then launched¬†the first¬†conference on “Disability and Sexuality”in Ireland, the first arts & disability radio series and co-founded the first ever arts magazine for people with disabilities.

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With Aretha, an inspiring and heart-warming story about a young girl with Down Syndrome starting out in her independent life, Thomas continues his campaign to place a positive spotlight on the issue of disability. Upon applying for her dream job in a café Aretha, is saddened to experience discrimination and bullying.

Speaking about the background to the film Thomas said:

Having suffered bullying as a child myself due to a minor disability this project is very close to my heart and I want this film to give a voice to people who are often seen but not heard, talked about but not talked to.

A promotional video for Aretha was made in October in Filmbase in Dublin (see below) with the generous participation of the Tv&Film Student  Alannah Murray, Tivoli Hills Special Olympics athletes Joe ,Jack and Tara, Jennifer Malone the Kildare GAA supporter who won Irish hearts this year, the Lord Mayor of Dublin and Orla Clancy, a model from Down Syndrome Ireland who has modelled on Ireland Am, who played the protagonist Aretha in the promo.

Auditions will be held mid-January with production to start shortly after this. However before a frame of film can be shot, the funds must be raised to make the film a reality. The money raised on the crowdfunding platform will help to pay the actors, employ a competent and creative film crew and market the film to festivals and distributors globally so that the film made will resonate with people and change attitudes for the best.

Music for the short film will be composed by Dan O’Neill a graduate from the Berklee School of Music with a master’s degree in Scoring for Film TV and Video games. He has scored a range of films screened at the Cork Film Festival, the Galway Film Fleadh and the LA Film Festival.  The film will also feature the well-known track “Respect” by Aretha Franklin.

Pledges to support this very worthy project can be made here at:   Support Aretha- an inspiring short film

You can keep up with Aretha’s news on¬†Twitter¬†and on¬†Facebook¬†and any media inquiries can be made to Dave Thomas at actuallyfilmsltd@gmail.com or Emma Fagan emmaatdsireevents@gmail.com

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