Home 2018 Films TermsWinnersEntryAboutPrizesJudgesSponsorsTwitter: Focus On AbilityFacebook: Focus On AbilityYouTube: Focus On Ability
Focus on Ability

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

Thank you for seeing me – focus on vision
The solid theme across all of the entries throughout the ten years of Focus On Ability is: ‘Please notice my abilities’, which is why, in this blog, we’re focusing on vision, not vision impairment. At ...

Where are they now? Jared Hargreaves
In 2017 Jared Hargreaves won the Focus On Ability Open Short Film section with his film ‘Mr Joe’. Apart from feeling like a star at the gala awards night, Jared also won a 3-week all-expenses-paid ...

What it feels like – focus on autism
This year’s Focus On Ability received around 50 films dealing with what if feels like to live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The ASD community – directors, actors, writers and editors – are really ...

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 ...

Bonkers Man
Northern Support Services
Thoughts of the Past
John Jeus Yagon
Life of Brian
Warrawong High
We've Got Something to Say
Bates Drive School
Active Support - Connecting in the Community
Family and Community Services
Disability is not a Curse
Samuel Ansi Jnr
Smith-Magenis Syndrome: See Me Shine
Katie Aarons
Christal's Production
Halinda School
Recollection
David Hoey
The Battle of PTSD
Laughlin O'Connor
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