Filmpossible recognizes young filmmakers who bring visibility to disability. The award was presented yesterday by Holland Bloorview in partnership with the TIFF Kids International Film Festival. This year's winner was selected by Holland Bloorview's children's advisory council.
BLOOM spoke to Owen about why he wanted to tell the story of his brother Rhys, who has a gene mutation and related disabilities.
BLOOM: Why did you want to do a film about your brother?
Owen McIntyre: Because he’s important to me and I want people to know about his disability and I really care for him.
BLOOM: Can you tell us a bit about Rhys’ disability?
Owen McIntyre: It’s a gene mutation that doesn’t allow him to walk or talk and he has trouble chewing.
BLOOM: What do you hope other people get from watching your film?
Owen McIntyre: I want them to understand that there’s a whole world of disabilities beyond the world we often see. Sometimes people think my life is so perfect.
BLOOM: Do you mean that some people don’t realize that some kids can’t do the everyday things that most of us take for granted?
Owen McIntyre: Yes.
BLOOM: Do you ever find it hard to explain Rhys to your friends?
Owen McIntyre: No, my friends I’ve had since kindergarten and they know I have a disabled brother and they understand and treat me and Rhys like everyone else. Some people at one point didn’t understand. I was okay with that, because at one point I didn’t understand either. For a while I thought my brother was normal and I was the one who was different. The fact that my friends understand what Rhys has makes me feel really, really happy.
BLOOM: What do you love most about Rhys?
Owen McIntyre: I love everything about him. I just love him. He’s my brother.
BLOOM: Are there certain things you like doing together?
Owen McIntyre: Playing with him, talking with him, enjoying ourselves outside. Tickling him.
BLOOM: Is there anything difficult about having a brother with a disability?
Owen McIntyre: The public. Walking outside, some people will give him a normal smile, and some people will give him a smile that says ‘I feel bad for you.’
BLOOM: What have you learned from your brother?
Owen McIntyre: Rhys has made me think a lot and that’s why I think I’m so smart. If my parents didn’t have the challenges they had when Rhys was born, I’d probably be really different. I think every little thing in the world turns into one big thing. So if I put one little piece of the puzzle there, or if I don’t, there will be two different happenings. I’d probably go to a different school if Rhys wasn’t my brother.
(Owen’s mum Natalie explains: Rhys’s dad and I separated and we had to move out of Owen’s school district. But we decided that Owen would continue at his existing school because we didn’t want him to have so many changes at once: divorce, moving, changing schools and having the challenges of a challenged brother.)