The BallThe Ball, follows four students with special needs, tracking their journeys as they prepare for their school's debutante ball. First loves, fist fights and falls on the dance floor all combine with honest interviews with their parents, the school principal, and intimate moments captured in their homes plus a grand finale on the dance floor. The film provides a heart-warming insight into the day-to-day lives of these unique characters living with disability.
For these children who have always been told that they are different, their greatest joy will come from taking part in something that most high schoolers take for granted - a deb ball. These kids are at the threshold of adulthood physically. They are starting to be interested in the opposite sex, are craving more independence and want the satisfaction of earning a living, of making a home, of starting a family. As they mark the end of their schooling with a glamorous presentation ball, the question is raised, 'What will be possible for them?'
While many other schools have formals and balls, this event is different.
The Ashwood presentation ball is significant because for this one night everything is perfect; the parents and families can observe with pride as they watch their children perform, as distinct from the day-to-day management issues which arise from caring for a disabled child. The actual presentation is bitter sweet but we observe and share the pride of the parents as they watch their children. On the night of the ball, these young adults are in control as they present themselves to the world.
Jessica Leski followed these teenagers and their families over the course of several months leading up to their debutante ball at The Ashwood School, a school for students with special needs in suburban Melbourne.