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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 Focus On Ability Short Film Festival.

If you’re passionate or want to learn more about the autism spectrum, Downs Syndrome or mental health, you can. If you enjoy comedy or drama, documentary or mocumentary, take your pick. Want international films from Finland, Iran, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda or Greece? Knock yourself out! Would prefer something locally made? Take your pick from the 130 entries submitted by schools around Australia and New Zealand.

This year there’s even a Lego stopgap animation by an eight-year-old boy.

‘I’ve watched them all twice,’ boasts Martin Wren. ‘There’s a hysterical comedy that’s obvious to all how much fun it was to make. It’s stuff like this that makes my job the hoot it is.’

For Martin, people with lived experience trump the rest of the stories. ‘You can’t argue it,’ he says, wanting to point people in the direction of his favourites but not being allowed to before voting ends (3 July, so get on it!) ‘Many are brave, funny and sad all at the same time.’

In a world where it seems there’s so much to disagree on, Focus On Ability is a platform for people who agree on this: people with disability should be included as a right, not as an exception. These films are a source of affirmation about the human condition.

Changing people’s attitudes is hard. We have to do it by reaching people’s hearts. These films reach many people’s hearts. Last year alone FOA had over 400,000 views. These films educate, entertain and challenge.

Whether the film’s mood is joy, anger, disappointment or determination, each has the sense that when someone handed the director/actor/writer lemons, they’ve gone, “Stuff this, I’m making lemonade.”



Previous Posts

Telling stories through animation
So many different mediums are represented in Focus On Ability 2018. Of all of them, animation, in all its forms, seems to be the most accessible. We have entries from an eight-year-old Aussie boy as well ...

Notes from the judges: David Cameron on participation
When asked to be involved in Focus On Ability (FOA) as a judge, David was ...

It gets bigger every year!
‘This year’s Focus On Ability (FOA) film selection feels even more international,’ says long-time judge David Cameron of the 2018 competition. ‘There’s a sense of expansion,’ David says, ‘discovering ...

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 ...

Mountain Climber
Barker College
The Can Do People!
Ballina High School
Flight
Heidi Everett
Yes We Can
Model Farms High School - Support Unit
Christal's Production
Halinda School
I Still Believe
Maria Kizito
Everyone is Different
St John The Baptist Primary School Maitland
Palette of Life
Woolooware High School
The Battle of PTSD
Laughlin O'Connor
60 Seconds with Tyler
Northern Support Services
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.

Head Office
Level 1, 50 Chapel St
St Marys NSW 2760
Copyright 2013 Nova Employment & Training Inc.
192.168.64.20