Where are they now? Davo Hardy
Six-time Focus On Ability (FOA) entrant, Davo Hardy, has written, directed and produced his first feature film, A Silent Agreement
. An experienced filmmaker, Hardy shot shorts themed around the rights, responsibilities and dreams of his characters, many of whom are people with disability.
Hardy credits FOA for providing a platform that helped him develop his skills and confidence. 'A niche festival like FOA is such an important part of bringing people together and opening doors for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to find them,' he says. It gives people with disability an accessible platform to produce content, showcase skills and meet like-minders from within the industry.
FOA also provides exposure to industry leaders and must surely be one of the richest short-film festivals in the world. This year, the total prize pool
is valued at around $175,000 and includes all-expenses-paid travel into Australia for international winners and the reverse for Australian winners. The latter flies to Los Angeles for a four-week stay that includes meetings with potential mentors and tickets to American Film Market, Universal Studios, Live Studio tapings and the Australians In Film Gala Dinner.
Hardy met a lot of the cast members in A Silent Agreement through FOA. 'It was a way for them to hit their straps and put their talents to use,' Hardy says. And he may not have come across such talent without their FOA introduction. He says it was such a gift as a writer to know what his cast was capable of and to have actors representing people like themselves in their roles.
These views are not shared with Gareth, the outta work actor played by Paul Mercurio
in A Silent Agreement, who insists in the film, 'You've got to go out and get big name actors with lots of razzle-dazzle. It's not some glorified home movie of you and your boyfriend making out.'
Indeed, it's not. Somehow, Hardy has written, directed and produced a film whose subject reflects itself and he's done so without self-consciousness. This takes enormous skill. Congratulations, Davo Hardy.