James, a teenager with autism, knows what it’s like to feel like an outsider. He wrestles between standing back and doing what he knows is right.

Touch Compass: Born Different

Touch Compass is Aotearoa’s leading professional performance company that is disability led. We were commissioned to create a narrative short film with a group of their young people. The film had its world premiere at The Junior Fleadh, as part of the Oscar accredited 32nd Galway Film Fleadh. You can now watch the film on Attitude Live, or on their YouTube channel. The script has been used in Show Me Shorts pilot filmmaking classes to show children what a successful short film can look like from script to screen.


  • 1 narrative short film (7 mins running time)
  • 3 poster images
  • 15 still images


“Such a fantastic company to work with. They work diligently to produce high quality material and are extremely people focused. An absolute joy to collaborate with and I highly recommend them.” – Diane Eaglesome, Touch Compass


As filmmakers, the most influence we have is in the stories we can give a platform to. From the beginning, we wanted to support voices who traditionally may not have had this opportunity, and continue to seek out new talent and makers to help share these unheard stories. 

This story was inspired by the incredible young people we worked with. James, our lead actor, said to us “I wish people knew what it was like to be born different.” This became the heart of the film, which stars a group of children with mixed abilities. Some have autism, dyspraxia, Down Syndrome, dyslexia, to name a few. But that doesn’t mean they can’t give beautiful, dramatic performances and tell stories that matter. In the media, there is so much focus on disability and how it dis-ables people. We wanted to show what these young people can do. This is a film for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. 


Story by Touch Compass youth
Directors Jack Barry, Miryam Jacobi
Produced by 2113 Creatives, Touch Compass
Starring James Leon, Ari Parker Wendt, Apollo Stylianou, Logan Taylor, Gabriel Pring, Michael Gu, Scarlett Guo, Charlotte Heath, Indiana Pring, Amber Stevenson, Jane Zhu
Director of Photography Jack Barry
Editors Laura MacBeath, Jack Barry, Miryam Jacobi
Composer Laughton Kora
First Assistant Director Olivia Mahood 
Second Assistant Director Christopher Moore
Camera Assist Alex Tarrant
Sound Recordist Mattias Inwood
Support Workers Charlotte Nightingale, Karen Moore
Student Crew Michael Gu, Liam Hansen Smith, Max Leon, Daniel Neilson, Jack Patten, Amber Stevenson, Jane Zhu
Music Arrangements & Recording Laughton Kora, Gareth Pring
Student Musicians Cai Jakich, Shem Jakich, Ari Parker-Wendt, Sonny Pring, Gabriel Pring, Indiana Pring, Amber Stevenson, Logan Taylor, Jane Zhu
Post Supervisor James Brookes
Post Coordinator Lauren Carr
Colourist Gareth Dick
Re-recording Mixer & Foley Derek Metivier
ADR Recordist Alex Chalcoff
Graphics Mitchell Tornquist
Post Production Intern Tyrone Elia
Audio Description Nicola Owen, Charlotte Heath
With special thanks to James Brookes, Department of Post, Wilson Home Trust, White Studios
Made with support from Touch Compass, Ministry of Youth Development, Creative New Zealand, Foundation North