An Australian film festival dedicated to showcasing the abilities of disabilities has celebrated a record number of 297 submitted entries for its 10th anniversary.
The Focus On Ability Short Film Festival also received entries from a record 26 countries, including first time entrants Pakistan, Iran, Hong Kong and Tunisia.
Chief Executive Officer, NOVA Employment Martin Wren says the Focus on Ability Film Festival (FOA) is a constant source of amazement for him.
“I don’t think, as a person, you can fail to be impressed and inspired by taking ten minutes to see a couple of FOA films.”
“FOA changes attitudes about people with disability and this is important because it’s the first step towards an inclusive society,” Mr Wren says.
For 27-year-old, Jessica D’Aguanno, this year’s Focus On Ability Short Film Festival provided her with the opportunity to participate in the competition for the first time.
Her film, Monday’s Pillar has been listed a finalist in the NOVA Entertainment 2018 Focus On Ability Short Film Awards.
Centered around two co-workers, Emma and Charlie, the film details the importance of a support network when living with disability.
Miss D’Aguanno’s advice to budding filmmakers is to believe in and challenge yourself.
“Give people a chance to see your story, your vision and your message,” she says.
“No one is perfect and regardless of if you have a disability or not, we as humans possess different abilities and talents, so let’s spread that message far and wide with our films.”
She says she couldn’t have completed her film without all the hard work and support behind the scenes from everyone involved.
The film awards are divided into six categories for voting; Australia and New Zealand Schools Documentary, Australia and New Zealand Schools Short Film, Australian Open Documentary. Australian Open Short Film, International Documentary and International Short Film.
There will also be awards for Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Director, Screen Producers Award and Most Online Votes.
Over $175,000 worth of prizes will be shared amongst the winners, alongside celebrations at a red-carpet event held at The Concourse in Sydney on 5 September 2018.
Voting for the awards concludes 3 July 2018.
To watch the films, cast your vote and be in the running to win a $50 iTunes voucher, click here.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au.