Rotorua Boys' High School students are finalists in a short film competition that celebrates the achievements of people with disabilities.

Year 11 students Sameed Khan and Daniel Meneses will be the only Rotorua students in the Nova Employment Focus on Ability film festival based in Australia.

Their documentary The Key to Inspiration centres on "well known and loved" Rotorua poi performer Te Manaia Yates who has Down Syndrome.

"We wanted to portray his passion and pursuits in poi which connects back to his culture and drive," Sameed said.

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"For us, Te Manaia is very inspiring, not just for those with a disability but for everyone."

This is the first film competition the boys have entered.

Daniel said he and Sameed saw the competition as an opportunity to push themselves and expand the film culture within their school.

The Focus on Ability competition is in its 10th year and received 297 entries from 26 countries this year.

It is the brainchild of Nova Employment chief executive Martin Wren.

"FOA gives us fantastic insight into how society's attitudes are changing towards people with disability. I don't think you can fail to be impressed and inspired by taking 10 minutes to see a couple of FOA films," Wren said.

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"[These films] change attitudes about people with disability and this is important because it is the first step towards an inclusive society."

The competition winners will be announced in September.

The Key to Inspiration can be viewed on YouTube here.