Joy Hopwood was a former Presenter of A.B.C.’s Play School, a writer, blogger, teacher, lecturer, public speaker. She was an ambassador for Mission Australia and Cancer Council NSW and was nominated twice for the Australian of the Year awards. Joy was a contributing writer for Growing Up Asian in Australia (Black Inc Books), Chinese Australian Women’s Stories (Jessie St Library / CHAA) and Reflecting on Life (Pearson Education). She wrote and created “The Wong Side of Life” theatre play, and transformed it into a video form titled “Kindness is for Free” ( an anti-bullying & anti-racism initiative in schools). She also founded and is artistic director of the yearly Joy House Film Festival. Joy blogs, writes, acts & makes films.
Why did you get into promoting more diversity on the screen?
I founded The Joy House Film Festival, which screens short films of joy & diversity. Due to the lack of diverse representation, I wanted to give a voice to a creative community that isn’t mainstream in the media and therefore our festival not only awards a cash prize for best film but also best Diversity Film and Youth films too, I’m also a founding member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s Diversity Committee which the Joy House Film Festival is proudly supported by.
Describe one of your favourite moments as a festival programmer?JH:
When viewing submissions from all over the world, it’s so gratifying to receive films with great stories of joy and to see a diverse reflection of characters represented on film.
What do Australians gain when they see diversity on the screen? What’s the feedback like?JH:
This year’s winner – The Present was the favourite by not only the judges but also the general public too because they didn’t expect to see diversity at its best. The film was about a dog given to a teenager as a present and when he opens his present to see that the dog has a disability – no leg, he dismisses the dog and continues to play with his video game. It’s not until the dog’s love and joy towards the boy that he is captivated by the dog’s charm and personality, not his disability. We then see an unexpected ending….I won’t ruin it for your your readers, but the crowd loved this film. Also we had a great documentary by Pearl Tan called Minority Box which showed diversity too. It was an interview with Australian Indian actors who talk about stereotypes and casting in the entertainment industry. This was also well received by the audience because it’s often a subject that isn’t discussed in the industry and there were many comical answers given by the actors.
What are you working on now and doing next?
I’m busy working on next year’s Joy House Film Festival and busy writing at the moment. I’m also writing a story at the moment and hope to share it with an audience in late 2016.