In regional Victoria, an all- abilities football team, the Jets, integrates with the local team to become the Wodonga Bulldogs All-Abilities football side. As they strive for on field victory, they also face the challenges that come with having a disability, both on and off the field. They have two goals: win their league grand final, and to win the exhibition match at the mainstream Ovens Murray Grand Final against their arch rivals, the Wangaratta Magpies, in front of a crowd of 10,000 people. Becoming Bulldogs follows the team across a year, a winning season leading up to the week-long National Inclusion Carnival in Sydney. We meet the vibrant personalities of the players, passionate but overworked team manager/mother/carer/volunteer , Katrina and club president Richard who’s views differ to Katrina's. Yet as the season wraps and COVID-19 looms, again isolating the players from community, not all is well at the club, and the challenges ahead begin to feel insurmountable.
A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
Four million people in Australia live with a disability.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability states that people with a disability should be afforded the right to full and effective participation and inclusion in society and provided with the necessary support to prevent isolation or segregation from the community. However there are still many barriers to participation today, and in sport specifically.
The Football Development Integration Association has been running for 30 years, however most of the all abilities teams are stand-alone clubs, completely segregated from mainstream football clubs. In NE Victoria, there are over 50 mainstream football clubs and only two all-abilities teams.
Football clubs are fueled by volunteers. The all-abilities teams are often run by carers already battling physical and emotional demands leading to burnout. Lack of support puts the teams at risk and undermines the physical and mental health benefits that inclusion brings.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
Our vision is for
. increased awareness around diverse ability accessibility
. greater understanding of living with disability.
. people with a disability integrated into mainstream sporting clubs
. increased opportunities for participation and inclusion in sport.
. greater support and education for clubs and carers to enable them to provide the necessary assistance to the participants.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
More game time for the all-abilities football players, by increased numbers of regional all-abilities football sides, within existing mainstream clubs.
More resources for clubs to create an inclusive culture and adequate support to meet the complex needs of all-abilities sports.
Increased acceptance and inclusion for people with a disability in the community and perceptions challenged on what people with a disability can do.
How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?
The documentary sets out to give an intimate insight to the journey of one club, one team and the members of the team – a local story with global resonance – and to highlight the issues that still require action.
We will partner with disability and sports organisations to roll out impact and community screenings, to tap into key messages together and to target messaging and to maximise our reach.
We will support the documentary with a strong social media campaign with additional content and calls to action.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
Sports and Recreation Victoria
Disability Sports Australia
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
To actively support all-abilities sport, in person - by attending a game, volunteering their time to a club, watching televised events - sharing positive stories including through social media, or lobbying government and sporting codes to support and include all-abilities players.
To consider ways that they can be more inclusive in their own community or workplace.
To be more welcoming and accepting towards people with a disability.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
-Profile/success of the program – festivals, theatrical box office, TV ratings, international territory sales
-Social media engagement and metrics
-Testimonials from audience members
-Meeting targets set with our impact partners (TBA)
-Commitment from regional clubs to implement new all-abilities sides.
-Clubs have access to clear inclusion guidelines for best practice and the establishment of a Welcoming Officer/Inclusion officer within their committees.