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Focus on Ability Blog

What kind of film will you make?

Okay, with the deadline for the 2017 FOA Film Festival fast approaching, you're no doubt asking yourself, 'What sort of film could I make?' and 'How can I win?'

Well, the answer to the first question is easy. Over the last eight years, the festival has showcased all sorts of films - dramas, docos, comedies, music videos, dance pieces, biopics, silent films, films in sign language - every one of them made by schools, individuals young and old, small businesses, experienced and inexperienced film-makers ... you name it. So, pretty much anything goes. If you've got an idea that fits the FOA criteria, break out the 4K, handy-cam or, hey, just your phone, and get shootin'.

(Wait a second ... phone? Sure, why not? The hit of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival was Tangerine, shot entirely on iPhone - and that's full feature length! And it's not the only one. Parts of Oscar-winning doco Searching For The Sugar Man were also shot on iPhone.)

As for winning ... well let's look at last year's awards. International winners hailed from Uganda, Sri Lanka and the USA and ranged from roving camera documentary style to a black-and-white, film-noir spoof. Open entrant winner Swish tells a simple basketball dreams story with no dialogue, a great soundtrack and some interesting jump cuts and close-ups. Runner up Wheels of Fortune is beautifully shot and abandons narrative to focus on a series of comic vignettes, which take a poke at society's foibles when it comes to interacting with a guy in a wheelchair.

People's choices Vision Without Sight and The Friendship Bakery both rely heavily on real people telling their own stories to get across strong messages of empowerment and inclusion. NOVA Choice award winner Ethan uses some creative visual effects to put us in the shoes of its central figure, who has an unusual visual impairment. Among the school entrants, Silence uses ... you guessed it ... silence (plus some strategic musical interventions) to brilliantly evoke the daily experience of its central character.

So, is there a formula for success in FOA? Not really. The common elements in these films are their people focus and stories that are authentic and unique. Mind you, it has to be said that all of them made pretty good choices with their soundtrack music, so that clearly doesn't hurt!

Previous Posts

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 ...

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 ...

Movie time!
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 ...

Contact Details
To speak to Ryan about your entry please email or contact him on Aus Mobile - 0414932987

Schooling Us
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 ...

Did you know you are living in a time of revolution? And that you are one of the revolutionaries? How, you say? Well, every time you shoot some video on your phone and post it on Facebook or YouTube ...

Disabled character or a character who has disability?
Every good character in film is written with challenges they must accommodate or overcome. Their inabilities are as important as their capabilities in order to create dynamic, engaging story arcs. The ...

Last post, I mentioned the New Zealand film Silence, one of the 2016 school entrant winners. It's an excellent piece of purist cinema that has a lot going on in its 5 minutes, so let's take ...

My Destiny
Fabrice Nzabonimpa
We Can
Sandra Bushuyu
60 Seconds with Tyler
Northern Support Services
ARC Beats Drum Group
ARC Disability Services
Plot Synopsis in 5 Minutes
Rouse Hill High School
Hell's Grannies
Warrawong High
To the best of our ability
Wodonga Tafe
Life of Silent
Gayan Pradeep Melegoda Gamage
Moses Chamba's Story
Allan Kalipinde
I've Got the Magic in Me!
Barker College
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