The Yukon Association for Community Living is trying something they’ve never done before: they’re entering the film business. The organization has a mission is to advocate for, and support individuals with, developmental disabilities and their families and guardians have made a film as a promotional tool to attract employers to hire their clients.

Kathleen Hare, employment program coordinator, and Steve Anderson, assistant program coordinator and job coach, were the driving force behind the project.

When the association received funding from Ready, Willing Able, a program designed to increase the labour force participation of people with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder, Hare and Anderson started to discuss how best to use the funding.

“We wanted to find the best means to get our message across,” Anderson says.

People who have a disability represent one of the largest sources of untapped labour in today’s economy, yet many people who have a disability remain either underemployed or unemployed, and many employers and businesses are not aware of this pool of potential workers.

At first, Hare and Anderson thought of a print campaign, but didn’t feel that would reach enough people. Anderson pointed out that most people sitting in a doctor’s office flipping through a magazine won’t really pay much attention.

After some more discussion, the idea of putting something on social media came up. Once Anderson and Hare had a look at YouTube and saw how many people one clip could reach, the idea of a short film was born.

“We wanted something that would attract employers and also be of interest to the average person,” says Anderson. “Posting a film on social media allows you to go anywhere and all at once to anyone. The film may even end up marketing itself.”

Anderson and Hare developed the narrative, made a list of clients, employers and local community figures to interview and then sent out a call in December for someone to make the film. Whitehorse filmmaker Brendan Preston signed on, shooting started in February and after three full days of filming a rough cut just under five minutes was completed.

“We’re pretty excited,” Anderson says. “It was a fantastic experience. By the third rough cut, we knew we were done.”  

The overall goal, he says, is to put together a series of films every three months or so, highlighting new clients and follow ups with existing clients, among other things.

But for now, everyone is looking forward to the release party on May 2 at the Yukon Association for Community Living office. Anderson says the film will be shown amidst a general appreciation of everyone who is involved with helping the organization do what they do.

“And there will be cupcakes,” he adds.

The film release party was held May 2 at the Yukon Association of Community Living’s office, located at 4230- 4 Ave, Suite 7. For more information call 867-667-4606.