By Mike Douglas.

He just wants to make a movie that makes a difference.

Recently, MARTY award-winning filmmaker Francesco Reale and his cousin Julian Reale completed a documentary series of seven 10-minute videos about adults with mental disabilities who enjoy art classes that help them socialize and grow together. He describes his storytelling approach as ‘a day in their life with art lessons’ at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre. The centre is led by the legendary Sybil Rampen and Jennifer Cairns, executive producers in cooperation with Community Living Oakville. 

The documentary series is called “Art from the Heart” and it’s on YouTube now. Joshua Creek is showing the videos at their studio on Burnhamthorpe Rd., just west of Highway 403. 

Francesco worked for Joshua Creek as a co-op student in high school. Now 10 years later, he’s worked for them professionally on a project that had a profound effect on him.  

“From a production standpoint we didn’t know how to start,” he admitted, “so we decided to shoot it like an emotional movie that reflected the personality of the individual we were profiling.”

MAC’s Executive Director Mike Douglas with Francesco Reale.

This was a chance to test their skills and find a way to make something special as their subjects were.

“Everyone perceives art and what they do differently and it’s special to themselves. All seven of the subjects made something special to themselves as they grew stronger as a community and became friends.”

While it is far from a feature film, “personally this was the best thing we could have done this year,” Francesco says.  The two Reales started filming in March and finished in May.

“We shot every Monday for seven weeks and I came to realize that I couldn’t live without this, that telling their stories made me so happy and fulfilled.”

Now they have had a learning opportunity that has touched them and lifted them. “We’re applying everything we learned into our planning for making a movie short that we want to produce to encourage funders and others to join with us in the making of a feature film.”

Sounds beautifully idealistic and open and it is.

If you are interested in working on Francesco’s film let him know what you can do, and maybe you can become a part of this creative dream yourself.

Contact Francesco Reale at


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