The Butterfly Circus (Short Film) – A Reflection

The Butterfly Circus, a short film featuring Nick Vujicic in the lead role, is one of the best short films of the last few years. The direction is skillfully and effectively handled by Joshua Weigel. The screenplay is crisp and compact as demanded by the short-film genre. The script written by the duo Joshua and Rebekah Weigel excels in terms of metaphors infused in the story. The story also serves as an inspiration for differently-abled people to achieve and succeed in life. Indeed, the lead character Nick Vujicic is a limb-less person as shown in the film; and continues to inspire thousands of similarly challenged individuals through his motivation talks.

There are many features of the film that captured my imagination. The short film was very well made, with different departments such as direction, screenplay, acting and cinematography all supporting and complementing each other. The real stalwart of the movie (as well as in real-life) is Nick Vujicic, who transforms himself from being ‘a perversion of nature’, ‘a creature given up by God’, etc to an extraordinary circus performer, an overachiever. As his mentor, the owner of Butterfly Circus correctly points out, much of Nick’s predicament and diminished sense of self is of his own making. Admonishing Nick for his passive acceptance of fate, the mentor (played by Eduardo Verástegui) urges Nick to achieve something like other circus performers. Even when Nick falls down as he tries to cross over the river, the mentor allows him to ‘manage’ on his own. Apathetic and cruel as it might seem, Verastegui knew what he was doing – namely cultivating self-sufficiency in Nick. Just as Verastegui intended, this attitude leads to a breakthrough event, when Nick falls into the water, and in a desperate attempt to keep afloat, discovers that he can swim.

As a teacher of special needs children, I can play this film to my students and inspire them to make maximum use of their lives. In addition to the film, I would also play motivational talks given by Nick Vujicic to my students, for the film is only a representation of his own real struggles. The film has also taught me the role of mentorship in uplifting disabled children. For example, the kind of encouragement that a child is received has profound implications for the way it integrates into the mainstream society.

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