When Griffith University’s Film School’s LiveLab students teamed up with Autism Queensland and actor Hugo Weaving to share his autistic nephew Ky Greenwood’s story in 2016, it took the world by storm.
Since then, Ky has been through some big changes, and a second film has been made showcasing his progress, plus a third featuring his sister Jorja Greenwood, a current Griffith Honours student.
When Hugo introduced Ky in the original film ‘Ky’s Story’, Ky was a shy teenager barely able to say more than “Hi my name is Ky”, whereas now, as seen in ‘Ky’s Story – Growing With Autism’ he has graduated high school, gained a network of friends, enjoys playing sports, has a driver’s licence plus two jobs and speaks confidently and fluently.
Friends and family play a key role in supporting those with autism, often at the expense of their own wants and needs, so in ‘Ky’s Story – My Sister Jorja’ we hear of Jorja’s often challenging experience of growing up as the younger sister of someone with autism, as well as her heart-warming tale of the unconditional love, compassion and support she provides her brother.
Creative Director of LiveLab at Griffith Film School, Associate Professor Richard Fabb said Ky’s mum in particular wanted Jorja’s story to also be told.
“I think family members of anyone growing up with autism really go through a lot, so we wanted to tell that story as well,” he said.
“All three films were made in the same live-action hybrid style, with Hugo speaking directly with Jorja and Ky in front of the camera, paired with the animated stories.”
In a major coup for the Film School and a personal goal for Professor Fabb checked off, the films have just been secured by SBS for broadcast and SBS OnDemand, first airing on World Autism Awareness Day, Sunday 2 April at 5:15pm and 5:25pm.
“When I started at Griffith Film School I thought, I’d love if we could get something our students produce on television, so I’m pretty chuffed we’ve had that happen,” Professor Fabb said.
“The students involved have been very passionate about the project, even sticking with it after leaving film school, including director Brendan Schoenmaker and producer Nicole Collett.
“Massive thanks also need to go to Tugboat Studio, founded by Griffith Film School animation alumnus Suzie Golledge for doing the animation, Ack Kinmonth and Romain Quessaud for the wonderful scores, Hugo Weaving for being so generous with his time and for having such a wonderful spirit, Autism Queensland for partnering with us and of course to the Greenwood family – Ky, Jorja, Nicolle and William.”
You can view the films from 2 April 2023 on SBS TV, SBS OnDemand or on Autism Queensland’s YouTube.