Powerful messages win over audiences

The votes have been counted and the winners announced in this year’s Film By Online Festival People’s Choice award.

23 November 2020
8 students stand in a line on a school oval with paper planes in their hands, ready to throw.
Image: Flying high…a scene from Elderslie Public School’s popular short film about a paper plane competition.

A film about a paper plane throwing competition and a story about the experiences of a student with disability being bullied have been voted the most popular films in this year’s Film By Online Festival.

‘Retro reflective and the paper plane competition’ from Elderslie Public School and ‘I’m human, just like you’ from Bossley Park High School received the most votes in the People’s Choice award from the online film festivals showcased in a live stream last week.

More than 3,000 votes were cast for the 31 films shown across the two festivals.

The Elderslie Public School students incorporated the concept of being reflective into the film about participating in a paper plane throwing competition.

When a first attempt at creating a paper plane does not go quite to plan, school character ‘Retro reflective’ appears to offer advice about not giving up, reflecting on the trial attempt and listening to feedback.

Bossley Park High School’s film shared an important and powerful message about the negative impacts of bullying, particularly on a student with disability.

Film creator Tracey Ly, who completed her HSC this year, said she made the film as part of a school project.

“When I first heard we had to make a film that represented us, my first thought was bullying,” she said.

“Bullying is such a heavy topic, but I believe one of the most important to talk about.”

In a powerful scene in the short film, Tracey’s limbs and face are covered by hurtful words such as freak, worthless and loser.

“Those words were ones people had said to me and I had said them myself,” she said.

“I want people to watch this film and understand that only you can decide if the words will hurt you.”

Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott said the Film by initiative was important because film gave everyone “the opportunity to tell their story, to have a voice and to be heard”.

“It is collaborative by nature, involves high levels of critical thinking and stimulates creativity. It also happens to be a whole lot of fun,” he said.

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