Actor, George Webster, 19, is one of the stars of new short film, S.A.M. The film is about two teenage boys, both named Sam, who meet at the swings each week to escape their dysfunctional home lives, and slowly fall in love. The film deals with themes including how society treats people living with disabilities, stereotypes regarding sexuality and disability, as well as some of the issues faced by young people from disadvantaged families.
We got the opportunity to ask George some questions about his new film, his love of acting, Parkrun and more…
What was it like filming SAM?
I loved the filming of S.A.M because it gave me a big opportunity to act in my first film and got to act with Sam Retford from Ackley Bridge. Me and Sam have bonded and have a great friendship.
Why is the film and what it talks about important to you?
The film talks about sexuality and accepting people for who they are. This is important to me because the film shows that people with a learning disability can equally take part in ordinary things such as me in this film.
Writer/director Lloyd Eyre-Morgan said you and Sam were the best actors he’s ever worked with. How does that make you feel?
This makes me feel very grateful and proud of myself as this film is a big achievement for me. Lloyd and Neil are the best writer/directors that I’ve worked with.
Were there any funny moments during filming that you can tell us about?
The improvisations that Sam and I made up which made each of us laugh. Like the ‘tiny hands or tiny feet’ scene and some of the daft dancing!
What do you hope people watching S.A.M will learn from it?
I hope that the people who watch this film will learn that they must accept all people from different backgrounds. I want them to see that everyone has equal rights and to see the person first, if that is someone who has a learning disability, or from a rough part of town or gay. What matters is the person.
Is this the first film you have acted in?
Yes, this is the first film I have acted in. I have been an extra in Emmerdale and acted on stage too. I belonged to Stage Door Performing Arts and Music School in Guiseley for 11 years from 2008 to 2019. I then joined in a drama class at Elev8 in Horsforth for a few years. Scott, Fran and Amy, Jodie and Phil really inspired my acting.
What’s next for your acting?
I hope to do more. I will be applying for a performing arts college in Bradford called Mind the Gap for young adults with learning disabilities and trying to get more parts.
Do you have any other hobbies and clubs you belong to?
I am part of a professional dance company called the Talent Hub who are touring nationwide in the UK this year. I am also part of two smaller dance companies called Ability and Meshdance Youth/Adult. I am a massive film fan and my favourite film genre is horror. My favourite horrors include, The Conjuring, Hell Fest, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Pet Cemetery and Suspiria. I am also a massive musical theatre nerd/fan. One favourite is Fame. I go to the cinema with my mates and family. I see quite a lot of bands with my family such as Neko Case, Joe Gideon and The Staves. I like going on my Xbox playing FIFA with my dad.
You’re well known in the Parkrun movement and even featured as a ‘Parkrun Hero’ on Sky TV… What was that like and why do you love Parkrun so much?
I fully enjoyed taking part in the Jessica’s Ennis-Hill’s Parkrun Heroes series of films featured on Sky because it gave me an opportunity to tell people all about my experiences with Parkrun. I love Parkrun because you can socialise which leads to making many new friends. It is healthy for your fitness and mind when running/volunteering at Parkrun.
Do you do any other work/volunteering?
I am still at my college. I have a part-time job on the weekend at a cafe called Cafe 21Co. I also help with Mencap as I am a Mencap Ambassador and I’m the chief cheerer for the London Marathon as they are the chief charity sponsoring the marathon. I am a Parkrun ambassador called STAR which stands for StoryTeller, Advocate, Role model which means I go to different school assemblies and talk about my whole Parkrun experience. I also do some volunteering in with Meshdance in their youth group.
What music are you in to?
The music that I am mostly into is musical theatre as I am a massive musical theatre geek. My three favourite musicals are School of Rock, Saturday Night Fever and Rock of Ages. I am also into rock music such as Ozzy Osbourne and Nirvana.
What’s your favourite film?
I have many favourite films and my top five are Knives Out, The Gentlemen, 1917, Joker and Avengers: Endgame.
What would you say to our readers who have Down’s Syndrome and want to become actors and actresses?
I would say that we all have equal rights and needs to be treated as other people. There’s not enough young people with a learning disability who are actors and this needs to change. We can do anything when we put our minds to it.
You can see an interview with the cast and crew of S.A.M here:
A powerful new LGBTQ+ short film S.A.M hopes to challenge people’s perceptions of sexuality and disability. Its creators are the Manchester duo @EyreandEly with support from @mencap-charity. @ElaineWITV on why #InclusionMatters
More here: https://t.co/S1aE56xSde pic.twitter.com/agVljZ6GeX
— ITV Granada Reports (@GranadaReports) January 22, 2020
S.A.M Social media:
Photos: All S.A.M film photos are courtesy of James Kenneth Photography.