Telling peoples’ stories

by | Nov 6, 2023 | Disability Community, Disability Sector, External News

Sydney hosted a crowded celebration of the skills and achievements of People with Disability. An amazing total of more than 310 cinematographers and video-makers descended on Chatswood for the grand announcement of the Focus on Ability Short Film Festival’s 2023 winners.

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The Festival challenges filmmakers to create a short (5-minute) film to celebrate and encourage People with Disability.

And, as a wonderful added bonus, the shorts – and the winners – are being posted on the Festival’s website where they can be streamed and viewed for free

The Festival attracted entries from seventeen different countries and has held screenings across the country over the past two months. Sunday’s event was the culmination of the Festival, a red carpet announcement of the winners. 

Showcasing People with Disability as both film-makers and actors, the festival has now carved out a significant role in creating representations of the multiplicity of experiences caught under the rubric of ‘disability’. 

This helps to explain the pun in the name, ‘Focus on Disability’. Instead of confining entries to a narrow concept of what it means to be disabled, the Festival encouraged a wide range of entries and experiences.


Martin Wren, CEO of NOVA Employment, standing next to a truck as he chats to the driver

Martin Wren, CEO of NOVA Employment 

The Festival has now run for fourteen years. It is the brainchild of Martin Wren, the head of NOVA Employment, who realised film could perform a valuable role in challenging the way people understood disability.