[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHnW1jZYCWI&w=560&h=315]

The first Wollongong Film Festival premiered at Project Contemporary Artspace last month, and woman and girls were in the spotlight.

Wollongong local Gia Frino organised the event as part of her ambassadorship for charity One Girl.

One Girl will use the proceeds of the festival to help provide girls and women in Sierra Leone and Uganda with an opportunity to attend school and receive an education.

Student Kelly Nicholson spent a year working on her film Mosby, which was screened at the Wollongong Film Festival.

“I heard about it through the University of Wollongong, and I thought ‘what a great opportunity for film and women’,” Ms Nicholson said.

Since 2011, One Girl has supported the education of more than 12,000 women and girls.

The support comes in many forms – from providing scholarships, school structural support including new buildings, a focus on small business and financial skills and supporting female healthcare through access to sanitary products.

While the local event was concerned with bringing the community together to celebrate film, all festival submissions needed a female director, producer, writer, lead protagonist, editor or cinematographer.

Ms Frino said the entry conditions provided women in the film industry with a platform to showcase their work, and encouraged women to participate in the arts.

Production team member and film student Affrica Handley was inspired to work on the festival because of its emphasis on celebrating women in the industry.

“The festival has been great for Wollongong,” Ms Handley said.

“We haven’t had anything like this for so long. I think down the track it will get to be a huge event.”

Organisers said the Wollongong Film Festival is likely to become an annual event.