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Red Carpet Arrivals: Autism In Focus 2023

WHO: Co-Founder & President of Healing Humanity Productions Sonia Rockwell; Creative Director of Focus on Ability Short Film Festival Ryan Goodwin; President of Healing Humanity Productions; Hemant Taneja, CEO General Catalyst and cofounder of Healing Humanity productions; Sonia RockwellScott Steindorff; (Director/Producer – STONE VILLAGE FILMS); Diversity Entertainment producer Jessica Orcsik. 

Special guests David Spade (Actor / Comedian); Lord Michael Evans (Professional PGA Golfer); Alex Rose Wiesel – (Actress / Mojave Diamonds/Lionsgate); Melissa McCarthy (ABC 20/20); E.R Ruiz (Actor); Gavin McHugh (9-1-1); CJ Jones (Avatar: The Way of Water); Nicole Lynn Evans (Superstore); Judi Levine (producer); Ben Lewin (writer); Deborah Calla (Media Access Awards); George Steeves (NCIS); Tobias Forrest (How to Get Away with Murder); Jackie Loeb (Comedian); Andy McPhee (Sons of Anarchy); Crista Flangan (Actor); Anastasia Nova (Model); Melanie Spect (Actress); Erman BaradiMatt Kniaz (Crimson Media); Yiana Pandelis (Camera Shy); Nadia Peri (influencer); Ron Orbach (Clueless); and David Riske (Professional Baseball Player).

WHAT: On Friday, June 16, NOVA Employment is thrilled to present 10 incredible films from the Focus on Ability Short Film Festival. In addition, an exciting announcement and preview screening of Stone Village Films’ and Healing Humanity Productions’ new documentary, UNDERSTANDING AUTISM, will take place. The festival will occur from 6:30pm – 10:30pm. 

WHEN: Friday, June 16, 2023

Media Check In: 6:15PM

Arrivals: 6:30PM – 7:30PM

Screening: 7.30PM – 8.45PM

Cocktails: 8.45PM – 10.30PM

WHERE: XTR Studios

2107 Bellevue Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90026

RSVP: If you would like to cover the festivals red carpet arrivals, please email thewendyford@gmail.com

MORE: NOVA Employment’s Focus on Ability Short Film Festival is entering its 15th consecutive year. In 2009, CEO of NOVA Employment Martin Wren began the festival with a belief in the ability of people with disability and the goal of bringing that belief to the world through the medium of film. Martin recognized the power of film to challenge people’s fixed beliefs and perceptions about the lives and abilities of people with disability around the world. NOVA, together with Paula Duncan, Australian Icon – known for both her success in the Australian film and television industry and her passion for supporting people with disability, has worked tirelessly to bring this festival to the world. Now FOA has over 2,500 short films accessible online and screening across many locations around the world.

This festival asks filmmakers to “Focus on the Ability” of people with a disability and tell a story on film for the world to view. The 2022 festival saw 281 finalists from across 19 countries and audience capacity is well over 1,500,000 people and continuing to grow. Films are judged by a professional judging panel from the US and Australia, then subject to an online voting process with separate prizes for each category. Their generous sponsors have donated over $100,000 worth of cash and prizes to encourage filmmakers and people with disabilities to tell their stories. Films are both educational and inspirational; and for people of all talent levels with many first-time filmmakers taking out major prizes. Providing unmatched exposure for up-and-coming filmmakers and for people with disabilities to bring their message to the world and show us that films have the power to change attitudes and challenge perceptions.

HEALING HUMANITY PRODUCTIONS and STONE VILLAGE FILMS have joined forces to produce an impactful and engaging documentary, called Understanding Autism.  HHP is a new production company focusing on storytelling to create content to change hearts, minds, and policies.

STONE VILLAGE FILMS has been in business for over 20 years producing films from The Lincoln Lawyer to the HBO show currently running, Station Eleven, which was just up for seven Emmys.

2022 “Focusonability” was created by NOVA Employment’s CEO, Martin Wren as a way of engaging with older school students and using their insights and enthusiasm to highlight the skills and achievements of people with disability. Originally, the focus was on short films produced by High School students, either as individuals or under the auspices of their schools. Today the festival not only covers every Australian state and territory, but it is also well and truly International, with more than 44 countries have participated. 

In 2022, Focusonability received 281 films from 19 countries. Easing of COVID restrictions enabled screenings in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle, Malawi, Ethiopia, and Thailand. The festival culminated with a full house at a Red Carpet Awards event at the Waterview, Bicentennial Park, Sydney. You can view the celebration here: https://youtube.com/live/u7-lzW3XRn8

We have free screenings planned for Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Launceston, Adelaide, Fremantle, Los Angeles, and more international announcements coming soon.

The total prize value will be in excess of $100,000.  The major prize for our Australian-winning film is designed to fulfill the dreams of any filmmaker. A cash prize, meetings with our distinguished judging panel, and money can’t buy industry experience. 

The best International film wins a trip for 2 people to Australia to attend our red-carpet awards night. This will be a luxurious holiday in Sydney for 2 weeks with spending money and ‘meet & greets’ with some of Australia’s best directors/producers. [Travel restrictions permitting – Cash Prize alternative] We believe that this, as well as all the other amazing prizes up for grabs, makes “Focusonability” Australia’s richest short film Festival.

CONTACT: Wendy Ford thewendyford@gmail.com / (909) 528-8561

For more information, please review the official website.

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Last modified: June 16, 2023

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