Genevieve Clay-Smith and Tracey Corbin-Matchett.
Genevieve Clay-Smith is stepping down as Bus Stop Films CEO after a decade in the role, handing the reins to Tracey Corbin-Matchett.
Bus Stop Films is a charitable organisation dedicated to providing people from marginalised communities access to a film school experience.
The organisation’s beginnings can be traced back to one of Clay-Smith’s first jobs as a filmmaker, when she was enlisted to help make a documentary for Down Syndrome NSW.
The experience introduced her to Gerard O’Dwyer, whose goal was to be actor. She cast him in a short film she was making, Be My Brother, and brought on people with a disability to work in the crew. The film won Tropfest in 2009.
Clay-Smith, together with producer Eleanor Winkler, began running workshops, and continued to make films using inclusive crews. A partnership with Sydney Community College opened up the opportunity to develop a curriculum and create an accessible film school.
Under Clay Smith’s leadership, the organisation has produced 15 inclusively made films, engaging more than 300 people across various diverse backgrounds. Her work has been recognised through accolades such as the recent Emerging Leader Award at the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, the Women’s Weekly Women of the Future Award, NSW Young Australian of the Year and her appointment as a Member of the NSW Arts and Culture Advisory Committee.
“I see people using the term ‘inclusive film’ to describe a film they’ve made which features a cast member with disability,” Clay-Smith says. “They want a badge of honour for it but that’s not inclusive filmmaking for me – it’s simply a great casting choice.
“Inclusive filmmaking is when there are underrepresented people working as crew, in the production office and as part of the writers’ room. We need to strip away the ego of this industry in order to ensure that inclusion infiltrates all aspects of the process. It improves the creative outcome while delivering cultural benefits.”
Corbin-Matchett, who has been with Bus Stop Films since 2017, brings experience in addressing diversity and inclusion in the screen sector, recently managing the Raising Films Australia initiative on behalf of WIFT Australia.
She has also held senior roles with Screen NSW and NSW Legal Aid as well as Family & Community Services (FACS), and is a director of Deaf Sports Australia.
“From the moment I learnt of Bus Stops’ amazing programs I felt a strong connection to its ideology,” she says. “I’m so very excited to be leading the organisation through a new chapter of growth and expansion, harnessing the success and learnings achieved under Genevieve’s brilliant leadership to drive future opportunities.”
Her immediate priorities include expanding the program into Canberra, exploring opportunities to better engage with Indigenous students and filmmakers, and strengthening relationships with all tiers of government.
Clay-Smith will remain on the Bus Stop Films board and lead strategic projects while continuing her role as an advocate for inclusive filmmaking. The move gives her more time to focus on her career as a writer and director.
“The past decade has been an incredible ride and we’ve achieved so much, but I’m delighted that the work of Bus Stop will continue without me at the helm,” she says. “For anyone who starts a not-for-profit organisation, sustainability is the toughest goal to achieve.
“I’m proud I can now step away knowing the organisation will keep creating opportunities and changing lives.”
Chairman Peter Tonagh said: “Bus Stop Films and the screen industry owes much to Genevieve in championing the inclusion of people with disability on both sides of the camera. She’s truly pioneered inclusive filmmaking. I’m delighted to welcome Tracey as our new CEO and look forward to working with her as we continue to grow the organisation