FOA18 LA ScreeningThe Writers Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills held a nearly 200-strong crowd for FOA's 2018 premiere in Los Angeles, the heart and soul of the international film industry.
Organiser, Jess Orcsik, gathered her peers supportive of the inclusion of people with disability in the film industry and the arts more generally, including producers, writers, directors and actors. Attending television celebrities included Micah Fowler (Speechless), Gavin McHugh (Emergency 9-1-1) and model, Amanda Booth, whose son lives with Downs Syndrome.
For FOA Ambassador, Paula Duncan, the highlight was watching the crowd's reactions to the quality of the films submitted and the emotions these films stirred in everyone.
After 50+-minutes of film, guests were treated to a Q&A panel discussion about the films and the focus-on-ability theme as it relates to inclusion in the film industry. The panel was made up of producer Judi Levine, director Ben Lewin, casting director Rick Millikan, writer and speaker Allen Rucker, Australia's own director Rod Hardy, and Deborah Calla, Chair of the Media Access Awards.
Both Rod and Deborah are judges for the international films submitted to FOA. Their feedback about the event was glowing:
A well-organised event! I was proud to be a part of it!?Congrats Jess and Focus Team. Rod Hardy
What a great festival! Talking about disability in film. We love it.?Jess Orcsik did a fantastic job. Deborah Calla
Actor, director and producer, Jess Orcsik is no stranger to film and TV, being the prodigy of actors Paula Duncan and John Orcsik, and her commitment to inclusion of people with disability is well known through her work in with the Special Olympics, Focus On Ability and as creator and director of 'Don't Dis Disabilities Dance Extravaganza'.
Casting Director, Semone Leifer, had this to say about the Writers Guild event:
'I just wanted to thank you SO MUCH for inviting me to the Focus on Ability event last night! I had a wonderful time meeting your family, friends, and?colleagues but the best part was seeing the?films. It was wonderful!?Congratulations on such a fantastic event!'
But the last word goes to Andrew Steele, from Flicks4change, who said they were 'truly moving films'.