10 September 2018

Canberra film-makers win big at Focus on Ability Short Film Festival

| Ian Bushnell
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Sebastian Chan at the awards presentation. Photo: Supplied.

A Canberra film-maker has won a major award at the 10th annual international Focus On Ability Short Film Festival, an initiative of NOVA Employment which focuses on the abilities of people with disability.

Sebastian Chan’s short film Bus Trip won the Judges’ Choice award in the Open Short Film section and Chan received his prize at the gala awards night at The Concourse in Sydney on 5 September.

Another Canberra film-maker, Carl Emmerson, and mentor Daniel Sanguineti won the Best Australian Screenplay award for sci-fi Airlock, the story of the only survivors of an alien attack.

From left, Carl Emmerson and Daniel Sanguineti at the awards.

Bus Trip tells the story about a disabled man who stands up for what is right and fair. It’s a film about bullying and the courage and conviction required to stand up to bullies.

On the night, Chan thanked the lead actor, Peter, and his mother, “who so strongly supports his acting career.”

“We shot it in one day on the bus,” he said. “Thanks to NOVA for the platform. We’re raising awareness together.”

Chan won tickets to the American Film Market; a Universal Studios Tour; meetings with international judges for mentorships; live studio tapings; tickets to Media Access Awards & Acknowledgement; tickets to Australians in Film Gala Dinner; $5000 in immigration services from Raynor & Associates; and a return flight to Los Angeles plus four weeks accommodation.

Chan has also submitted Bus Trip to the Canberra Short Film Festival.

“I was motivated by social media videos depicting mistreatment of disabled people and wanted to produce a film that addresses how society views and treats people with a disability,” he said.

A still from Sebastian Chan’s Bus Trip.

The Focus On Ability Short Film Festival is an international, five-minute short-film competition open to all, free to enter and free to attend.

CEO NOVA Employment Martin Wren said Focus started in 2009 with 12 entries from high schools and a $5000 prize.

“In 2018, we received entries from 297 filmmakers, who are sharing over $200,000 in prizes. I thought it was a good idea, but didn’t know it would grow like this!” he said.

‘I’m absolutely privileged to get out of bed every morning, because the people I work with are an inspiration.”

To view the list of 2018 winners, got here.


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