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 disability.

The tenth annual Focus On Ability (FOA) Short Film Festival is proudly accessible. It started this way in 2009 and, despite growing through numbers of entrants, international reach and increased prizes, continues this way in 2018.

Why?

Because inclusion for people with disability matters. The organisers of FOA understand this and believe that the art form of film, recently made so much more accessible by increasing film quality on mobile phones and wider access to the internet, is a way to engage the rest of the world.

This must be true!

In FOA's second year, 27 films were entered and 34,000 online views were received. By 2014, the first year with an international category, we received 180 entries and had over 250,000 views. Last year our 210 entries were seen more than 400,000 viewers.

Past films indicate the skill, talent and diversity within the community and support for people with disability to achieve their dreams. Many people from within the industry have met other likeminded actors, writers, editors, producers and film makers either through the online viewing process or at the awards night (see highlights from last year's here.). Long-term friendships and professional relationships result.

Before you know it, future FOA entries are made by a previous entrant who met the lead actor in the foyer over a drink and canapé before the screening; a collaboration between directors results in a feature film coming together; a school enters for the fifth year in a row and wins!

As film maker, Davo Hardy says, “The greatest thing about Focus On Ability is that it encourages people who have a disability or who aren't mainstream to produce content.” FOA gives people with disability a genuine and significant platform to display their talents and the resulting opportunities will be the subject of future blogs in 2018.