Link December 2018 Volume 27 Issue 6 - Page 50

employment Film festival triumph students, reducing bullying and improving the self-confidence of students with disabilities. NOVA Employment’s ‘Focus On Ability’ (FOA) film festival attracted 297 entries from 26 countries in its 10th anniversary year. T “From there, FOA just grew and grew. In our 10th anniversary year, we received 297 films, not just from across Australia, but 26 countries around the world. he FOA festival, which remained the same, to focus on the “The theme, focussing on what highlights the ability of people abilities of people with disability. All can be accomplished by people with disability through the films entered must reflect this theme. with disability, both in front of and accessible medium of short film, NOVA Employment Chief Executive behind the camera, has struck an international chord. celebrated winners in 16 categories Officer Martin Wren said he started at the 2018 awards night held in the festival in schools to encourage Sydney in September. students to focus on the positives impressed by the skill and courage of about their peers with disability the film makers and actors, dealing and to share their success stories. with issues around mental health, An initiative of NOVA Employment, the FOA is an annual, international, five-minute short film “Excited by the potential for festival which is open to all and free digital storytelling to change to enter. attitudes and conscious that the “And you can’t but help be suicide, gender identity and sexuality with sensitivity.” At FOA18, Nova Employment young film makers of today will General Manager Anne Goyer when 12 films were entered by Sydney become tomorrow’s decision makers, launched SearchFOA, a searchable high schools – the festival has grown we increased our support for FOA, database of every film submitted to to now offer prizes worth more than enabling the number of schools to FOA to date. SearchFOA can search $200,000 and a red-carpet awards double in the second year,” he said. by film name, disability, year of From humble beginnings in 2009 – night attended by 650 people. Over the 10 years, the purpose has “Teachers told us about the impact participation had on their submission, country and more. There are also themed playlists and word cloud searches. “The potential for the film database to provide encouragement, education, information and inspiration can’t be overemphasised,” Martin said. FOA Ambassador, actor Paula Duncan AM, told the awards night crowd that Martin had “led us to imagine the unimaginable, believe in the unbelievable and attain the unattainable”. Also on the night, Paul McBride from the Department of Social Security announced the department will contribute $50,000 to FOA. 50 employment linkonline.com.au