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Focus on Ability Short Film Festival Malawi will be held at Malawi Sun Hotel in Blantyre on November 26, organisers have confirmed.

Focus on Ability Society (Foas) Executive Director and co-founder, MacDonald Nyirenda, said yesterday that this is the first short film festival to be run in the country.

“The festival is implanted by Focus on Ability Society (Foas), which is a non-governmental organisation that was formed in 2016 with the aim of promoting abilities and achievements of people with disabilities in Malawi,” Nyirenda said.

Nyirenda said, last year, they partnered Nova Employment in Australia to establish a spotlight of the Focus on Ability Short Film Festival.

“This is an international competition by Nova Employment, asking film makers to submit short films showcasing abilities of people with disabilities around the world,” he said.

Nyirenda revealed that he participated in the festival last year in international categories held at Sydney in Australia where he was the finalist with his short film See Me See Abilities.

“Looking at the social exclusion of people with disabilities, talents they have and misconceptions people have on their abilities, we thought it wise to organise the short film festival in the country,” he said.

Nyirenda said the platform is aimed at, among other things, giving the country’s filmmakers a chance to showcase their movies, especially those that tell stories of people with disabilities.

“We want filmmakers to produce five-minute film/documentaries showcasing skills/talents and achievements of people with disabilities in Malawi. This is an annual festival [to run] on the theme ‘Focus on Ability’,” Nyirenda said.

He said the winner of the festival that saw 10 films entering the 2017 festival will be announced and awarded $1000.

“Selection of the winner is done by our partner judges in Australia, and online voting in which 186 votes came from Malawi,” he said.

Nyirenda said the 10 films will be screened on the day for people to appreciate abilities of people with disabilities.

“We will also screen short films from other African countries. It is through these films that other people with disabilities will learn from, and emulate, their fellows and start using their abilities to stand on their own economically and socially,” he said.

Nyirenda also said the films would help in changing people’s mindset towards people with disabilities; hence, people will start recognising and respecting their abilities and valuing them in society.

According to the Foas co-founder, the screening is the third one in Africa.

The first took place in Harare, Zimbabwe, last year and the second also took place in Harare in October this year.

“We just want to call upon people to come on the day and appreciate these short films. We will be showcasing some amazing short films and documentaries,” Nyirenda said.

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