Aspergers has not held back young Timaru film-maker

CPIT-Aoraki student Jerry Westaway has Aspergers Syndrome but that does not stop him making films.
PHOTO: MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ FAIRFAX NZ

CPIT-Aoraki student Jerry Westaway has Aspergers Syndrome but that does not stop him making films.

Since he was at primary school Jerry Westaway, who has Aspergers Syndrome, has been making films and recently entered one on Parkinson's disease in an international competition.

Aspergers is a pervasive development disorder which can affect communication and social skills.

"I find (some) things socially awkward and hard to deal with but I try my best," he said.

Very focused intellectually, with an eidetic memory, Westaway, 19, is now in his second year of studying Digital Design and Photography at CPIT-Aoraki in Timaru.

At the end of last year he was commissioned to make a promotional film by Toi Whakaari undergraduate director Kimble Henderson, as part of one of her projects, and Parkinson's South Canterbury. The video Parkinson's Awareness Week 2015 is the result; which he has entered in the World Parkinson's Video Competition.

"He created a really interesting point of view through the personal journeys of those with Parkinson's," Henderson said.

"I shot it in November ... on a Canon DSLR camera," Westaway said.

The three-minute community-based film also follows the Parkinson's SC promoters around the district as they try to raise awareness of their cause.

"If I get in the top 12 (in the competition) I will be in effect representing New Zealand," he said.

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The contest is run every three years and the winners will be announced in September. Meanwhile, the film is on YouTube.

Westaway grew up watching movies.

"I loved the story-telling part."

At the age of 12, while attending Grantlea Downs School, he started making his own videos.

He went on to Mountainview High School and continued film-making.

In 2014, the young film-maker was camera assistant for former Timaru hobby director and screenwriter Shaun Ellis on the film Beep. The film won the Viewfinder Cinematography award in the New Zealand Outlook for Someday short film competition. Westaway has also made a series of promotional videos for the Timaru District Council.

"I like having creative freedom and improvise all my camera work. I like to try different angles."

His plans for the future are to complete his course by the end of this year and then try to get into CPIT in Christchurch to embark on a Bachelor of Screen and TV production.

 - Stuff

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