Yarrow Housing, a charity for people with learning disabilities, has produced a short film starring acclaimed actor Bill Nighy to encourage people not to overlook its service users. Coping Strategies was produced by Moment by Moment, a theatre company that is part of Yarrow. The film tells the story of Shahid, a young man with learning disabilities who breaks free from his mollycoddling mother for a new life of independence.
"We have done musical comedies in the past, but wanted to do something new," says Adam Koronka, writer, director and producer of Coping Strategies. "We also wanted to reach a wider audience. Having Bill Nighy involved has really helped raise awareness: everyone wants to interview him because he is currently filming Valkyrie with Tom Cruise. We hope to break down barriers by getting people with and without learning disabilities working together, and I hope the film shows that people should not be overlooked just because they have disabilities."
Coping Strategies was screened at London's Riverside Studios last month. DVD copies can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The charity also hopes to get the film screened at international film festivals.
Koronka says: "The feedback has been really positive and we have sold lots of DVDs. People said it was amusing and entertaining, as well as educational. We didn't want to create something that was worthy."