Social entrepreneur and filmmaker named 2015 NSW Young Australian of the Year
8 December 2014
UTS alumna Genevieve Clay-Smith has been named the 2015 NSW Young Australian of the Year.
The 26-year old filmmaker and social entrepreneur is using her filmmaking talents for the greater good, working with diverse and marginalised communities to voice their experiences through creating short films. Through her not-for-profit organisation Bus Stop Films – which she runs on a volunteer basis – Genevieve hosts weekly filmmaking workshops and provides mentorship and learning opportunities for people facing barriers to inclusion.
She established the organisation soon after winning Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival, in 2009 with her inspiring film Be My Brother. The film, which was an exploration of the life of a man with Down Syndrome, was widely acclaimed for breaking down social stigmas surrounding disability. The project also engaged people with a disability in roles as crew members.
Genevieve freely gives her spare time and talent to forge new pathways for inclusive employment in the film industry and to help sidelined Australians step into the spotlight.
‘‘I’m so excited to use this award to raise awareness for the things I stand for, to have a platform to advocate for people who are marginalised,” she told the Newcastle Herald on hearing of the award. “You don’t understand someone’s potential until you give them an opportunity to rise to the occasion.’’
As the national finalist representing NSW Genevieve is now in the running to be named overall Young Australian of the Year, to be announced in Canberra on the eve of Australia Day 2015.
Amongst numerous accolades for her film projects, the 2009 graduate of UTS’s Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Media Arts and Production) was also recently announced as winner in the Young Leaders category of the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards for 2014.