The Focus Story

For the 16th consecutive year, NOVA Employment proudly presents the Focus on Ability™ Short Film Festival (FOA), inviting filmmakers worldwide to showcase the abilities of people with disabilities through the powerful medium of film.

In 2023, the festival reached new heights with a record-breaking 310 finalists hailing from 17 countries. Now, as we gear up for the 2024 edition, it promises to be the most monumental yet. Thanks to our generous sponsors, who have contributed over $100,000 in cash and prizes, we're encouraging filmmakers and individuals with disabilities to share their stories with the world.

Participation is simple: create a short film or documentary under 5 minutes in length, centred around a disability theme or featuring individuals with disabilities as main actors. Submissions close on July 12, 2024.

The inception of the festival in 2009 by NOVA Employment CEO Martin Wren stemmed from a profound belief in the capabilities of people with disability. His vision was to use film as a tool to challenge stereotypes and showcase the diverse talents of individuals with disability on a global scale.

With your support, FOA aspires to catalyse change. Our ambition may seem lofty, but we've witnessed the transformative power of the Focus on Ability Short Film Festival firsthand. It serves as a potent catalyst for reshaping perceptions and fostering inclusivity.
The essence of the festival lies in urging filmmakers to shift the lens towards "Ability" and craft compelling stories that resonate with audiences worldwide.

NOVA Employment, alongside industry luminary Paula Duncan, renowned for her achievements in Australian film and television, has tirelessly championed this cause, making the festival a reality.
The Focus on Ability Film Festival is inclusive of filmmakers at all levels of experience, with many first-time entrants claiming top prizes. Past submissions have not only been educational but also deeply moving. Feedback from viewers attests to their capacity to challenge preconceptions and foster inclusion.

With an audience capacity exceeding 1.5 million and steadily growing, the festival offers unparalleled exposure for emerging filmmakers and provides a platform for individuals with disability to amplify their voices. Films undergo rigorous evaluation by a panel of esteemed judges and are also subject to an online voting process, with distinct prizes awarded across various categories.

Join us in celebrating the boundless potential and remarkable talents of individuals with disability through the art of filmmaking.

Meet the Team

FOA Creator, Martin Wren
Martin WrenIn 2009, CEO of NOVA Employment Martin Wren began the festival with a belief in the ability of people with disability, and the goal of bringing that belief to the world through the medium of film. Martin recognised the power of film to challenge people's fixed beliefs and perceptions about the lives and abilities of people with disability around the world.

FOA Ambassador, Paula Duncan
Paula DuncanPaula Duncan, known for both her success in the Australian film and television industry and passion for supporting people with disability, has worked tirelessly to bring this festival to the world.

Creative Director, Ryan Goodwin
Ryan GoodwinRyan Goodwin studied as a journalist and has used his curiosity and ability to talk to people to encourage film makers from all walks of life to tell their story via the medium of film.