Always focus on ability

What you look for is what you see.

This is why I created the Focus On Ability Short Film Festival.

In our first year, 2009, we received 12 entries from NSW-based high shools. They shared $5000 in prizes.

Last week, at our red-carpet awards night attended by 650 people, including, VIPs actor Alan Fletcher, comedian Adam Hills and our very own ambassador Paula Duncan, we celebrated our ten-year anniversary in style. Ten years of highlighting and celebrating the ability of people with disability. This is the theme of the five-minute film competition. All you have to do is focus on the ability of people with disability. Even the government gets is right at this event, as noted by The Hon. Ray Williams, MP, Minister for Disability Services, who said, 'As a government, I'm proud to say, this is where we get it right. We've backed this festival for years, because it focuses only on ability.'

This is what we've achieved in ten years:

  • Over 1000 films entered
  • In 2018 alone, 297 films entered from 28 different countries
  • Stories that reflect the lived experience of people from every continent (OK, except Antarctica - but we're working on it)
  • In 2018, over $200,000 awarded in cash and prizes
  • In 2018, over 450,000 online votes and views of the films
  • Entries from people as young as 8 years old
  • Entries reflecting all sorts of abilities and disabilities
  • A searchable database that means everyone with an internet connection can access every film, for free, from anywhere in the world.

And that's just the tangible stuff that we have statistics for. To see the proud mums and dads and people with disability themselves, experiencing, perhaps for the first time, a collective roar for their efforts, experience and achievements, brings a tear to most folks' eyes on the night. It shouldn't. It doesn't need to be this way. We need to focus daily on the ability of people with disability.