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Focus on Ability Blog

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 and makers both in front of and behind the camera.

September and October were busy for the FOA crew! We held screenings in New York, Auckland and Harare, with many, many more people watching the films online.

First stop: Auckland, New Zealand

About 90 people attended the screening at Rydges, Auckland, including the winners in the schools documentary category The Carlson School for students with cerebral palsy. Principal, Faye Philp, spoke glowingly of how the films they entered sent a positive message about both their school and students, which, in turn, enhanced the students’ confidence and self-esteem.

People came from all over the north island, with representatives from Whakatane School driving four hours to watch the 16 New Zealand entries on the big screen.

Second stop: New York, USA

We screened the festival four times in as many days in New York. On the Tuesday, we were in Harlem at The Axis Project – a centre for people with physical disabilities.

‘It was a highlight of the trip,’ said CEO of NOVA Employment, Martin Wren, who created the festival nine years ago. ‘The screenings give hope and inspiration and remind people that they are part of world effort towards inclusion, not just in Harlem.’

On Wednesday we met with media, businesses and supporters of FOA at Dolby Theatres. The interest and support from such a wide range of people was encouraging, from film critics to freelance journos writing for industry publications and representatives from Reuters and AP.

By Thursday we were at Brooklyn Independence Care Systems, whose clients mostly have high-level physical disabilities and on Friday we found ourselves in The Bronx Library with Bronx Independent Living Services. A large percentage of the audience were hearing impaired.

‘Looking back the week provided was empowering for us both in terms of the reception our existing films received and in the prospect of an even better festival for our tenth anniversary in 2018.’

Last (but by no means least) stop: Harare, Zimbabwe

A few years ago, FOA was excited to feel a deep rumble of support coming from around Africa. In 2016, we took the festival to Zimbabwe. We had so much fun that we decided to go back in 2017! And the 1000 people who attended the screening event at the National Rehabilitation Centre are just as pleased as we are that we did (http://www.focusonability.com.au/FOA/FocusBlog/Zimbabwe-exuberant-about-FOA_1372/).

Previous Posts

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It gets bigger every year!
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Something for everyone
‘I don’t want to say, “There’s something for everyone” in this film festival, but I have to! Because there is,’ says Martin Wren, CEO of NOVA Employment and the person who came up with the idea of a ...

Voting has started
Public voting has started in the tenth annual Focus On Ability film competition and, if past years are anything to go by, the winner of Most Online Votes will do so by just a few votes. It gets pretty ...

Careful what you wish for!
The cleverness of the title Focus On Ability passed me by for some years, before filmmakers kindly shed some light. Not being a camera operator myself, I knew it sounded good. But the idea of focusing ...

Where are they now? Davo Hardy
Six-time Focus On Ability (FOA) entrant, Davo Hardy, has written, directed and produced his first feature film, . An experienced ...

Where are they now? Davo Hardy
Six-time Focus On Ability (FOA) entrant, Davo Hardy, has written, directed and produced his first feature film, . An experienced ...

Free to enter, free to attend
Not only is it free to enter, it’s free to attend. Anyone can enter a film from any corner of the world. Films can be made on any medium. The only catch? Films must highlight the ability of people with ...

Got 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 ...

Wood that mends the mind
Hannah King
Mr Potential Kabarebe
Jean Baptiste Nyabyenda
Amazing Lucy
Laingholm School
Stafford Ochieng
This is how Active Support Works - Expand Someone's World
Family and Community Services
Bill Kasanda
The Wheel Chair Life
Amir Kamrani
Drama Armour Everyone is Able
Caroline Hughes
Dancing for Disabled
Hannah Sharry
Invisible Disability
Brooke Pree
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.

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St Marys NSW 2760
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