Latest News

NMIT film to screen during London Paralympic Games

22 Mar 2013

Café Chat, an NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) produced film, has been selected to screen at London's 2012 Liberty Festival. The festival, which showcases the talents of the best deaf and disabled artists from the UK and the world, will run on September 1 and 2, the first weekend of the Paralympic Games. As part of the festival the British Film Institute will present the best short films made by people with disabilities, including Café Chat.

Kirsten Woodhouse, an NMIT Work Education Centre teacher, led the project. “We are thrilled with the selection of Café Chat for the Liberty Festival. It's great that on a very small budget the staff and students of the Work Education Centre and TAFE will be able to showcase our work during the Paralympic celebrations.”

The Work Education Centre, based at NMIT's Preston Campus, provides a supportive environment for intellectually disabled students to develop work skills, with courses including transition education, theatre and hospitality.

Café Chat is an eight-minute claymation film entirely made by NMIT students. Two work education classes created the film, mentored by award-winning animator Anthony Lawrence. The students were involved in every part of the filmmaking process including sculpting characters, painting sets, voice recording and using Stop Motion Pro software.

The project spanned NMIT campuses and departments with Martin Randall from Collingwood's Information Technology Department and Andrew Gannon from the Greensborough's Performing Arts Department throwing their support behind the film.

Work Education Centre students collaborated with Performing Arts students on the film's sound - including editing a WEC student rap song - while Information Technology students worked on the film post-production.

Kirsten says, “It was a memorable experience to create something unique like this. For the students it was a learning experience that they can share with others as well as giving them the opportunity to further develop skills which they can take with them into the workplace.”

Since the film's completion in early 2011, it has become something of a slow-burn hit. In November 2011 it won the Oska Bright Festival award in Brighton, England for Most Original Film. In March 2012 it was screened in Vancouver, Canada as part of the Wide Angle Media festival and next year the film will screen at another Canadian film festival, the Picture This Film Festival.

Café Chat focuses on young people meeting in a café. It touches on social relations and the difference between real face-to-face conversations and internet “friendships”, making the point that sometimes we need to be a little brave to make new friends.

Kirsten attributes the film's success to its themes of community, identity and self-determination. “Having an international audience relate and respond to Cafe Chat shows we all share the same values, desires and needs. It makes us feel a lot closer together.”

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.