Attracting 161 entries from all over the world, the finalists of the 2015 Focus On Ability Short Film Festival have been decided.

With entries from 14 different countries including Rwanda, Canada, USA, Germany, Australia and New Zealand the festival aims to raise awareness of the abilities of people with a disability.    The 2015 winners are decided through online voting and an international panel of highly regarded film industry professionals including casting director Rick Millikan, producer Bill Hughes, director David Cameron, producer/director Di Drew, actor/writer/director John Orcsik, actor Christopher Thornton and esteemed director Rod Hardy.

Believing in the innate capacity and right for people with a disability to fully participate in life, NOVA Employment founded the Focus On Ability Short Film Festival in 2009.  The Film Festival comprises five divisions:  Best Australian Short Film (Open), Best Australian Short Documentary (Open), Best International Short Film and the schools’ divisions of Best School Short Film and Best School Short Documentary eligible to schools in Australia and New Zealand.

Focus On Ability Ambassador Paula Duncan AM said: “Currently in its seventh year the Focus On Ability Short Film Festival has grown from a great local idea to a major international initiative. This Festival celebrates the achievements for, and by, people with disabilities through the magic of filmmaking.  It touches the hearts, minds and lives of hundreds and thousands of people of all ages across metropolitan and rural Australia … and across the world.”

NOVA Employment Executive and Focus On Ability co-Ambassador Martin Wren added: “Focus On Ability was created to provoke thought about the role of people with a disability and the value of their contribution. Originally we aimed just at school students but the concept sparked overseas and we are delighted that it has grown into a truly international event.”

The winners of the international short film festival will be announced at the Red Carpet Awards on Wednesday 9 September at 6:00 pm at The Concourse in Chatswood, Sydney, with The Voice 2014 winner Anja Nissen performing, as well as the Special Olympic Dancers who will have recently returned from a tour of the US.

As well as the International Film Festival, the Schools Division of the short film competition received entries from 71 schools across Australia and New Zealand. A showcase screening of the school entries will be held on Tuesday 8 September from 10:00am – 12:30pm at The Concourse Chatswood. Designed for schools, teaching staff, students and their families, this event also features educational seminars presented by industry experts, celebrity presenters and NOVA Employment representatives.

Both the School Screening day and the Red Carpet Awards evening are free events, with RSVP necessary.

To RSVP for the events, view this year’s film entries or find out more information visit

Twitter:           @FOAFilmFestival

Hashtags:        #focusonability





Founded by NOVA Employment in 2009, Focus on Ability aims to increase awareness of the importance of inclusion and diversity for people with disability. As the principal sponsor, NOVA Employment designed the Short Film Festival to encourage people to think about how they might help break down barriers for people with disability.

With Ambassadors Paula Duncan AM and NOVA Employment CEO Martin Wren, Focus on Ability has resonated with many notable Members of the Australian Parliament including the Hon George Brandis QC (Attorney General, Minister for the Arts), Sussan Ley MP (Member for Farrer, Minister for Health, Minister for Sport), and John Alexander MP (Federal Member for Bennelong). Also extending their support are the Hon Bernie Ripoll MP (Federal Member for Oxley) as well as Jim Longley CEO and Hon John Ajaka Minister NSW Family and Community Services, Ageing, Disability and Home Care).  

Through the support of the Hon Julie Bishop MP (Minister for Foreign Affairs) and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Focus On Ability Short Film Festival has been promoted in Australia’s ninety-four Embassies and Consulates worldwide, with the festival being hosted at the Australian Embassy in New York in March 2016.