WHEN Danny Smith was knocked down by a car and lost his speech, the teenager’s future looked bleak.

But now aged 36 and a prominent member of a film group in Oxford, his story has been nominated at an international film festival.

He is one of four members of the Shadowlight Artists group, based in Catherine Street, Oxford, to get their films shown at the prestigious Oska Bright Film Festival.

Their films were chosen from thousands, to be shown at the festival later this month.

Mr Smith’s picture Danny’s Flashback is nominated for best film. He has Down’s Syndrome and was knocked over by a car in Wallingford when he was 18.

He has spoken with a stutter ever since, but has used film-making as a way of expressing himself.

The movie maker from Cowley said: “I am happy to have my film nominated in Oska Bright. It will show the world who I am.”

Another entry being shown is Streetwise, a dance film made by 34-year-old Mark Barber.

He said: “I can’t wait for everyone to see it. It has lots of amazing special effects in it.”

The group of seven have met twice a month at Film Oxford, a charity which provides professional training in film making, since 2008.

Grey Burdick is part of a team of film-makers who help the group with their production and editing.She said: “Danny’s film comes from the heart. There are lots of other films in the competition which are slicker but I think his won because it’s his personal story.

“He knew what he wanted to say and he said it. It’s a really big festival and they have thousands of entries sent in.”

Other films by fellow group members Richard Hunt and Julian Blake will be shown during an evening event at the festival. Mr Hunt, 39, from Oxford, said: “Shadowlight Artists is my favourite thing, I am glad my film is being shown at Oska Bright.”

The group recently received a £44,000 grant from Arts Council of England for each of the artists to make a new film.

Course manager Richard Duriez said: “This group is very close, they have a wide range of disabilities, from autism to Down’s Syndrome, but are joined together by their love of film. They are all so happy to be here and to be taken seriously.

“It’s quite a big thing in their lives – professional people listening to their ideas and taking them seriously.”

  • Oska Bright is a festival of short films made by people with a learning disability. It starts on November 22.

For more information, visit ofvm.org/artist/