|Home||2017 Films||Film Archive||Terms||Winners||Entry||About||Prizes||Judges||Sponsors|
Focus on Ability Blog
With the 2017 deadline fast approaching, it seems like a good time to take another look at last year's winners and, in particular, two entrants from the schools' section. Every year, scores of schools from Australia and New Zealand activate their media classes, scour lost property for costumes, call on resources from across their communities, and turn their classrooms into film sets to produce an enormous cinematic range that covers every film style imaginable.
Judges' Choice Short Film winner, Seeing Shai (written and directed by Ming Dao Ting from Northside Christian College in Brisbane), demonstrates real cinematographic skill with a deceptively simple story based around a group of students discussing one of their classmates, Shai Mayberry, who has Downs Syndrome. Their conversation takes us inside the often well-meaning but misguided ideas about a person with disability. Showcasing great camera work, sophisticated editing and assured acting from the young cast, the film cuts between the circle of students, re-enactments of their misconceptions and footage of how Shai really lives and engages with his school. Deftly skewering the notion that Shai is someone to feel sorry for, it reveals a person who is more engaged and active in his community than any of them. The film culminates in a triumphant address to camera from Shai himself, proudly demanding that we see him not through 'what I cannot do but what I can do'.
Winner of the schools' documentary section, Through My Eyes, comes from Lyndale Secondary College in Victoria. This story focuses on Tom Anderson, a student with a degenerative vision impairment that may in time result in his becoming completely blind. Like Seeing Shai, the film opens with other people's perceptions, as Tom's friends and classmates offer their summations of him, from heartfelt admiration to declarations such as 'Tom is a modern day Einstein' that you suspect might have been suggested by Tom himself. From there on, the voice is all Tom's as he describes his life and attitude with eloquence, humour and a fearlessness that ultimately redefines 'normal'. Even if faced with the opportunity to fix his vision, he declares he 'probably wouldn't'.
These two fine films are standouts, but there were over 70 entrants from schools in 2016, all brimming with ideas, humour, invention and a deep understanding of their subjects.
You can see them all here:
Previous PostsGot a story to tell?
Got a story to tell? Does it have a focus on the ability of people with disability? Do you have an interest in shooting video? If you answer 'yes' to all of the above, you need to get ...
Zimbabwe exuberant about FOA
Over 1000 people filled the National Rehabilitation Centre in Ruwa, Zimbabwe on a sunny Saturday in October with guests from all over southern Africa. Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that ...
A Truly International Film Festival
Where to start? This year’s Focus On Ability Film Festival broke all records. But it’s not the records that matter so much as the increased awareness of the abilities of the actors, players, directors ...
Praise For FOA17
2017 was the most successful festival in FOA's nine-year history, with a record number of overall entries, participating countries and schools involved. Last month's gala awards night lived up ...
AND THE WINNERS ARE…
On 6th September, 600 guests congregated at the prestigious Concourse on Sydney's North Shore to attend FOA's 2017 Gala Awards Night. They were there to walk the red carpet, to enjoy beautiful ...
Open To All
Inclusivity is the goal of FOA and nowhere is this demonstrated more effectively than in the 2017 Open Entrant sections. For some, this competition presents an opportunity to participate, offering ...
So here we are! You all got your entries in, right? Well, a lot of you did because the turnout for FOA 2017 has been massive! Record-breaking. Firstly, this is the most ever finalists the festival has ...
Martin's Grand Vision
The FOA Film Festival was set in motion nine years ago at the instigation of NOVA Employment's CEO of 25 years, Martin Wren, whose passion and advocacy for bringing disability into mainstream public ...
To speak to Ryan about your entry please email or contact him on Aus Mobile - 0414932987
With the 2017 deadline fast approaching, it seems like a good time to take another look at last year's winners and, in particular, two entrants from the schools' section. Every year, scores ...
NOVA Employment is a not-for-profit disability employment agency funded by the Australian Government. At NOVA Employment we find people with disability award wage work of their choice.
Level 1, 50 Chapel St
St Marys NSW 2760