She has a dream and it’s one she is determined to pursue.
And Alice Barker isn’t going to let a thing like disability put her off.
The student from Huddersfield is on a film studies course at Sheffield Hallam University and would love to end up in Hollywood as a film director or screenwriter. The fact that she has cerebral palsy is not going to stand in her way.
The 20-year-old from Meltham was diagnosed with the condition when she was just 12 months old.
She said all her life up to now has been peppered with “Could-have-beens” and “What-ifs”. but Alice is determined to focus on what she can do rather than what she can’t.
She said: “While my mother, Claire, helps me with things like showering and getting dressed, I do everything else myself. I do my own make-up, go shopping around town and also undertake personal hobbies such as sketching.
“I was a student at Newsome High School from 2006 until 2011, and I left with fourteen GCSEs, ranging from grades A – C, with a subject prize for French. I attended Huddersfield New College until 2013, and left with three A-Levels, grades A*- C. The A* was for Film Studies and I am now at Sheffield Hallam University, undertaking a degree in film and screenwriting. I expect to graduate in 2017.
“My interest in films started when I was 14. I had very little self-confidence at the time; I felt like my disability made it difficult to fit in. I now realise I was born to stand out, however I didn’t arrive at this conclusion on my own.
“One cold night in December, I went to see James Cameron’s Avatar for the first time. I wasn’t really interested in the film until something suddenly made me sit bolt upright. There was a man on the screen. But he wasn’t walking. He was wheeling, just like me. And what’s more, Jake Sully wasn’t a sad man, staying out of the action and feeling sorry for himself. He was a bold man. A brave man. A hero.
“I left the cinema that night in a state of shock. Jake wasn’t real, but I was and I was going to be a warrior. I was going to write and make a movie that would change someone’s life, just like Avatar had changed me.”
Alice said that her wheelchair was regarded a stumbling block by others but not by her. She points to a series of short films she has already made on You Tube, which have won university awards.
“It is a great adventure, every single day. If I could say one thing to both disabled and able-bodied people, it would be this: stand up. Perhaps not literally, but stand up and let the world know that you are here. Life isn’t fair, and it’s never going to be, because it’s life. So take a risk. Believe the impossible. It’s all there for you to take, but the world won’t come to you. You have to go to the world.
Watch one of Alice's short films below
“When I picture myself in five or ten years, all I see is Hollywood. I see the Walk of Fame, palm trees, and Oscars. But then the dream shatters and I worry about carers, and getting on the plane, and expense.
“I have to say, carers is the one thing I worry about the most; who will look after me if I go over there? But in my heart, I must go. I just need to get on that plane”.
Alice has publishes short films under username Heart of Celluloid Films on YouTube.