Hastings Public School and Hastings Secondary College students have been selected as finalists in the 'Film By ... Invitation' film festival for 2020.
The virtual film festival launched in 2019 with the best of student short films at the Bryan Brown Theatre in Bankstown.
This year's 'Film By ... Invitation' film festival will screen contributions from 18 schools during NSW Education Week.
Hastings Secondary College visual arts teacher Cassandra Stirton said students from her class stitched three short films together to win a place in the film festival finals.
"They adapted the film to issues they'd seen or are facing as teenagers. That could be homelessness or domestic violence," she said.
"They then brainstormed and broke into three groups to explore those topics. I was so impressed with what they had created and it worked when the three films were put together.
"We would constantly come back, make changes and then refine."
Student Taj Henderson said he'd been living in a refuge at the time of filming last year and used those experiences in the final product.
"I was the main actor in my section and I wanted to use that place (refuge) in the film," he said.
"I'm pretty stoked that it's going into the film festival. I think it all fit together well."
Fellow student Mia Zimmer, who edited the film together, said she wants to use her editing skills to gain a career in journalism.
"I kind of prefer developing a story than being in it. I usually have a lot of ideas and imagination," she said.
"I was just trying to make the story flow and the film was conveyed through actions. It was a challenge to edit because each group had a different style but it worked out well."
Another film finalist this year is class 5J at Hastings Public School. The film follows the life of student Tyler Russell-Foo, who lives with a disability.
"I was the main protagonist and it shows what life is like each day," Tyler said.
"In this particular film it showed my inner life using my walking cane, glasses. It shows that even if you're disabled you can still live a pretty normal life.
"It can teach people to be more aware of people with a disability. Seeing the movie was good but also a little cringe-worthy seeing myself on screen."
Hastings Public School classroom teacher Julie Johnston said the students put the film together in April 2019.
"Originally we were looking at script writing, dramas and plays," she said.
"We latched onto documentaries because we know Tyler very well and he is such an inspirational young man."
Australian actor and film by patron Bryan Brown said the film festival gives the public an insight into the challenges and victories of school life as a young person.
"Film breaks down all the barriers and gives us a chance to understand we're not very different from each other and if we're not very different we can get to like each other a lot," Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown will select his festival winner, known as Bryan's Pick Award, while school communities across NSW will have the chance to vote in the People's Choice Award after the festival airs.
Both winners will be announced at noon on Friday, August 7 as part of Education Week. The annual statewide week celebrates NSW public education from August 3 to 7 with the theme, 'Learning together'.
The Film by ... Invitation virtual film festival entries will be livestreamed on Wednesday, August 5 at midday. CLICK HERE for more information.