My name’s Ellie Wallwork, I’m 22 and I’m a visually impaired actor. I’ve known I wasn’t straight since I was about 14 and my sexuality, along with my disability, make up a huge part of who I am. I know I wouldn’t be the same person without these key parts of my identity. However, despite the fact that there are loads of queer blind people in the UK and all over the world, we don’t see that represented on-screen nearly enough. It’s high time to make a change.
Recently, I’ve become involved in the production of a drama short film called Picturesque. Following a blind woman and her girlfriend, it’s a bittersweet story about learning to trust, let go of resentment and embracing love and disability in all its forms. I’m co-writing the script and will also be acting as the main character, Mills: she wants to be loved, doesn’t always know how to go about it and, most of all, she is human. Being able to help write something so close to my heart means more than anything; I’ve always strived to represent parts of the communities that mean the most to me. For the first time, I’m able to give voice – in some way – to those of us who are VI and queer.
Previously, I’ve acted in both Doctor Who and Call the Midwife. For those productions, casting an authentically blind actor was a huge step in the right direction and I’m so grateful that I got to be part of it. Intersectionality, though, is just as important: there are other parts to us aside from being VI and for those of us who don’t fit the straight mould society might try to put us in, it’s even more important that we’re represented as we are. Now, I want to make a small step towards showing that it’s not just possible to be a visually impaired LGBTQ+ person; it’s something that should inspire pride within yourself and others. Coming out takes a lot of strength and when you’re also disabled, it can lead to feelings of isolation but it also provides us with a really unique way of looking at the world. Normalising our existence on-screen not only allows those different from us to understand but it also gives us a way to express ourselves that feels right.
Picturesque is slated to start filming in 2023 but in order to make this project a reality, we need to gather as much support as we can. Myself and Will Hextall, the director, have set up a fundraising campaign which will cover production costs for the film. It would mean the world to me if you could share the campaign, and the message of our film, as far and wide as you can. Any donations, no matter how big or small, will help us to affect real change.
Everyone should feel represented. That includes all of us.
The link to the campaign is below and you can also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.