Words: Steve Brown
A new short film about LGBTQ people with learning disabilities hopes to give a voice to those ‘often seen as non-sexual’.
S.A.M. stars Ackley Bridge’s Sam Retford and Mencap ambassador George Webster as two teenage boys – both named Sam – who meet at swings each week to escape their dysfunctional homes, and slowly they begin to fall in love.
The Manchester-based short film was developed by the writing and directing team Eyre and Ely, who hope their film will represent people in the LGBTQ community with learning disabilities.
In a statement, they said: "We wanted to develop a story that expressed how many people living with learning disabilities feel about love and sexuality.
"We found that many people felt like they didn't have a voice when it came to expressing sexuality and were often seen as non-sexual.
“We hope this film will change people's perceptions and give a platform to an issue that is rarely discussed."
George – who became an ambassador for the UK based charity last year – said the film is important as it’s all about ‘accepting yourself and accepting others’.
He said: “The film is important to me because it's about being yourself, accepting yourself and accepting others for who they are.
Sam Retford, David Tag and George Webster
"The film also shows that people with disabilities have the ability to be strong actors.
“Another thing that's important for visibility is that we can have equal opportunities and equal rights too."
Sam – who is best known for playing Cory Wilson in Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge – added: “Being involved in S.A.M. was such an incredible honour for me; I got to help tell the ever-important story of being who you are.
“I’m so unbelievably proud of this project, it shows what is means to find someone who makes you, you, regardless of their background of their disability.”
The film, which also stars Hollyoaks star David Tag, will be entered into film festivals around the world and also deals with themes such as stereotypes regarding sexuality and disability.
The team behind the short film are aiming to make it into a feature-length version with the same story and characters.
Images by Kenneth James Photography