The NOVA Focus on Ability Film Festival continues to grow, and the national tour was a huge success, with film makers, stars and supporting schools out in force, screening to 2000 people across seven cities. This year 400 submissions were received worldwide, with 310 finalists from 17 countries and over 2900 films now available on the website.

And the winners:

Sydney Open Entrant Documentary – Timothy Hans – The Rise of Sean & Marley; and School Entrant Documentary – Katoomba High School – Orlando’s Heart.

NOVA Employment Choice winners Sydney Open were: Katoomba High School – Orlando’s Heart and Robert King – King of my Castle, receiving $1000 and $500 respectively.

“The audiences were enthusiastic, really got involved and supported the film makers and actors,” Martin Wren said. “The show goes around the country and shares with us some truly wonderful stories.”

The NOVA Employment CEO was speaking to F2L at the NOVA Short Film Festival NSW finals in Sydney, that played to a packed house at the Liverpool Catholic Club theatre.

“Many films I am still moved by…I like life stories to see how things turn out for folks, particularly when they are faced with significant adversity.” 

As for the winners: Sean & Marley, two working boys from the Sydney Western Suburbs with an impressive 500,000 Instagram and three million TikTok followers. “I think they are being very modest with their numbers as I believe there is more interest there. My sons have signed up to be fans.”

Orlando’s Heart is a film about resilience and the love and support Orlando receives from family, school and the community.  He took up knitting at a young age to do something with his hands after a brain tumour operation left him blind, creating a series of knitted love hearts for shopfront exhibitions.

Robert King, a man with ideas, ambition, love and humour, made a film to share his story of moving into his own home after living in institutions for over 50 years. He is doing his own thing now, making decisions about everything, assisted by family and friends who support him to live the life he has always wanted. Pictured with Ryan Goodwin and Anne Goyer.

The NOVA Short Film Festival Red Carpet Awards will be held on November 5 at The Concourse Concert Hall, Chatswood, NSW at 1pm. For details go to:

Main photo: NOVA Employment general manager Anne Goyer, Rebekah and Orlando from Katoomba High and NOVA media manager, Ryan Goodwin.