Story and photo by Jacob Hoytema –
Kitchissippi resident and former CTV Ottawa journalist, Anna-Karina Tabuñar, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the final phase of postproduction for her documentary film Talent Untapped.
The film is, in the words of its website, “a tribute to people with visible and invisible disabilities,” focusing on the under-representation of disabled people in the workforce.
Tabuñar launched the Kickstarter on May 23 with a goal of $38,700. She says she wants to use the money to make the film accessible for audiences of any ability. This includes providing embedded description for those with seeing disabilities, captions for the deaf and hearing-impaired, and if funding allows, an American Sign Language version.
Tabuñar says the Kickstarter hasn’t started off as well as she had hoped, raising only about four thousand dollars in its first two weeks. She has witnessed widespread support for the film among the community, however, and says that this could translate into financial contributions.
“There is a demand, and there is appetite for this kind of film,” says Tabuñar. “People want to be part of a change, and they want to join this movement.”
A “movement” is frequently how Tabuñar describes what she wants to achieve with the project. Besides simply telling the stories of disabled people and their experiences in finding employment, the producers’ goal is to change the mindsets of business owners and reverse some of the pre-conceptions around hiring disabled people.
“I know that this documentary film is going to be a game changer in the way that businesses hire,” she says. “A lot of employers don’t consider this demographic.”
She adds that businesses can no longer afford not to hire disabled people. “They have to get on this bandwagon or they’re going to be left behind,” she says.
Tabuñar explains that one in eight people are disabled, and the statistic comes closer to one in three for seniors. Thus, as Canada’s population ages, disabled people will make up a larger percentage of the employable population.
In addition, the film aims to change the perception that hiring disabled people is a liability. While many employers may originally hire disabled people “as a gesture of the heart,” Tabuñar says many soon discover that they are harder working, more punctual, and have higher morale than the average employee.
Those who wish to donate to the Kickstarter or find out more about the project can visit the film’s website at talentuntapped.org. Tabuñar assures potential donors that there is no risk of their money going to waste, since Kickstarter won’t actually charge anyone until the campaign reaches 100 per cent of its goal.
There isn’t a set premiere date or venue for the film yet, but Tabuñar says she hopes to hold the first screening in Ottawa during the week of December 3, which is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.