Nader Bahu is a self-taught filmmaker who has produced 19 short films, four of which were created for the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. His latest entry is “Unexpected Date,” a romantic comedy he wrote and directed.
Founded by Nic Novicki, the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge is an annual five-day competition in which filmmakers must create original three-to-five minute films based on a different theme each year. This year’s theme was romance. Bahu participates in the Challenge each year to motivate himself to create more short films and to push himself to think of new story ideas.
In the film, Bahu plays the role of Elijah, a young man with a disability who is nervous about a blind date. The film also addresses the topic of individuals who need assistive translators. Sometimes needing someone else to speak for them can lead to a lack of personal connection. Bahu tackles this topic in a playful manner. The main character asserts his independence and goes old school by using handwritten notes to communicate with his date. Things work out well when Elijah’s date suggests a movie date for just the two of them.
Bahu wanted to create a light-hearted film that would also touch on the topic of disability insecurity and how some individuals use humor to cope. On set, Bahu worked closely with his team, including his cinematographer, Kyle Bernal, and his actors, Dante Fontenot and Vikki Beretta.
For Bahu, disability inclusion is important, but it must be done right. He wants disabled individuals to be more than just background characters in films. They should be integral parts of the story. As a disabled filmmaker, Bahu draws inspiration from his life experiences to create authentic and genuine stories about disabled characters.
Nader Bahu was a past participant in the 2022 RespectAbility cohort of the Warner Bros. Discovery Access Early Career Bootcamp.