The winners of the 2015 Focus On Ability Short Film Festival were announced at a red carpet event attended by over 600 people in Sydney on Wednesday 9 September.
Attracting 161 entries from 14 different countries including Rwanda, Canada, USA, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, the annual festival aims to raise awareness of the abilities of people with a disability.
The judges’ choice winners of the 2015 Focus On Ability Short Film Festival are:
BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM
Filmmaker: Jenna Kanell
Synopsis: Despite being told as a child he would never speak or walk, Vance accomplished what doctors thought was impossible. But now he has a new challenge: dating.
BEST AUSTRALIAN SHORT FILM (OPEN)
Filmmaker: Georgia Cramp
Location: Woodville, NSW
Synopsis: A young girl with ambition to be a professional ballerina soon realises that listening to the beats of the music would be harder for her as she is deaf in both ears. The others in her class are quick to judge her as people nowadays look at people with a disability on what they can't do, and do not look at the things that they excel with. The girl realises that listening to her own heart she can be the ballerina she has always wanted to.
BEST AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY (OPEN)
Filmmaker: Daniel Clarke
Location: Adelaide, SA
Synopsis: Meet Kushia Young. She can't hear you. But she can draw you a mystical character in under 10 minutes. This profoundly deaf 20 year old artist from the remote APY Lands has a unique style of contemporary indigenous art that is both striking and surprising. Follow Kushia's emotional journey as the close-knit community of Pipalyatjara organise her first ever art exhibition in Alice Springs.
BEST SCHOOL SHORT FILM
WE WERE LIKE RAIN… SILVER LIQUID DROPS
Filmmaker: Kellyville High School
Location: Kellyville, NSW
Synopsis: Based on a true story of a mother dealing with the difficulties of raising her autistic son. She encounters lack of support and intervention services.
BEST SCHOOL DOCUMENTARY
Filmmaker: Werrington Public School
Location: Werrington, NSW
Synopsis: When Jacob grows up he wants to be in the Navy. It's all he wants. It's all he dreams about. So the staff from Werrington Public School take Jacob on the excursion of a lifetime to help him follow his dreams.
The winners were decided by public online voting and an international panel of highly regarded film industry professionals including casting director Rick Millikan, producer Bill Hughes, director David Cameron, producer/director Di Drew, actor/writer/director John Orcsik, actor Christopher Thornton and esteemed director Rod Hardy.
NOVA Employment and Focus On Ability Chief Executive Martin Wren said: “The ability of filmmakers to highlight the achievements of those with a disability is remarkable. The film competition is building momentum for change - not only for those with a disability but also for the community at large.”
Focus On Ability Ambassador Paula Duncan AM added: “I am humbly proud of the many innovative and enriching film entries from all over the world. This festival brings education, comfort and inspiration to people of all ages, on the great achievements of and by people with disabilities. Congratulations to our winners and thank you to the NSW State Government, all our sponsors, our supporters and our hundreds of entrants.”