From being a child drug addict to drug dealing, spending time in prison to becoming an author and now even a film producer - Jason Cook has really turned his life around. And now the 40-year-old from Borehamwood is hosting his own short film awards.

The awards are being held by The Way Forward Productions - a company Jason himself founded in 2005. The idea behind them says Jason is to support local talent and give them a platform to meet people in the industry.

He says: “We in particular support disadvantaged filmmakers. People with dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome, and generally people who have learning difficulties - it’s about helping them as well as other local talent. And the awards is about bringing people in the industry together with the filmmakers and the community.”

Out of the 50 films that came through, seven have been shortlisted and will be aired on the awards night. Those attending, will not only be able to hear what the judges think, but then vote for the one they like the best. The winner will win a cash prize of £200.

Jason, who suffers from dyslexia himself, says it was one of the reasons he set up the company.

He explains: “This production company was set up by like-minded people who wanted make films.

“We started to develop ten feature films and now we want to go on and make these into commercial feature films . The idea is we have is to have shareholders and investors fund the films that we are making and give opportunities to those in the local community who want to be a part of it.”

One of the films the company is working on is an adaptation of Jason’s novel There’s No Room for Jugglers in my Circus into a film with the working title of The Devil’s Dandruff. One of the challenges he faced was getting a script written.

He says that when he was in prison, he joined a drug-free ring and it was there he started writing about his experiences, and he was coached while writing the book. “I had to get it down into a format that someone could understand what I was trying to say,” he tells me. “And this was the same when I was choosing someone to write the scripts.”

Jason has been working with award-winning Canadian screen writer JoAnn Hess and has also got action director Tom Delmar lined up to take on the film, which they plan to start shooting for in August this year.

“The book, is based on my own life experiences and I have been working on the project for three years." adds Jason. “After it was published it was well-received in the local community and used in workshops to help teach about crime and how it doesn’t help anyone. I started getting offers from America to buy the rights to the book to turn it into a film. It made me decide that I would rather do it myself so I turned them down - it meant then I could get more creative control.

“I was also keen to make sure my message got across that crime and drugs don’t pay."

Borehamwood Library, Shenley Road, April 17, 8pm. Details: 07505 517933,