AT 19 years old, Stirling Chapple from North Richmond is more worldly than many.
An ex-Colo High student studying film at JMC Academy in Ultimo, Stirling is set on shining a light on mental health through a film he is making called Grandiose.
The film is inspired by Stirling’s experiences at a disability centre for children in East Timor, which he visited during a mission trip earlier this year with Hawkesbury Valley Baptist Church.
Stirling is hoping to raise $15,000 to support the film, half of which will be used for production and the other half will be donated to the East Timor facility, Kids Ark Disability Centre.
Stirling said the film was inspired by a tragic situation he witnessed there, in the form of a young girl who had suffered horrendous abuse.
"She was severely physically disabled but you could see so much hurt within her,” he said.
“I learnt that she had been thrown out to live with the pigs by her family from a very young age due to her obvious physical health problems. Her family believed because she was physically disabled, she did not have the right to live in the house with the family.
“Due to this very unfortunate lifestyle, this girl was treated like an animal which eventually made her believe she was an animal.”
Stirling said the story broke his heart and inspired him to create a film that brings awareness to mental illness.
“Grandiose is a film that explores the way society view those who suffer from mental illness. It is a social impact film that communicates a message of accepting others and accepting yourself,” he said.
The film follows fictional character Jenipher, a young girl who faces an inner battle between reality and her delusions of being a professional dancer.
Due to her ‘grandiose delusions’, she finds herself being the subject of humiliation and discrimination when she is seen dancing in public.
“From an outside perspective it looks like a hot mess but all she perceives is beauty and elegance in her movements,” Stirling said.
“Never setting a foot on stage, she breaks into a theatre to give that one performance every professional dancer could dream of. However this delusion comes to a halt when she sees an empty room with no crowd as she realises the extent of her illness.”
Jenipher the character is being played by Stirling’s friend and fellow Hawkesbury resident, 20-year-old Jenipher Wayman who graduated from Colo High along with Stirling in 2016. A dancer herself, she takes lessons at Accent on Dance in Richmond.
The film is a joint project between Stirling and his classmates at film school in Sydney, and will be filmed at various locations in the Hawkesbury.
The crowdfunding campaign is now open, ending on Wednesday, August 22. Any excess raised over $15,000 will also be donated to the disability centre in East Timor.
Donation packages are available with ‘perks’ including being named as an executive producer of the film, and coming on-board as an extra.
To donate, go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/grandiose-social-impact-short-film.