Focus On Ability Festival returns for its eleventh year

Posted 2 years ago by Nicole Pope

Adelaide filmmaker Jessica D’Aguanno on-set with actress Lillie Mansell [Source: Supplied]
Adelaide filmmaker Jessica D’Aguanno on-set with actress Lillie Mansell [Source: Supplied]

An international film festival focusing on the ability of disability has returned for its eleventh year, with 244 films submitted from 26 countries.

Presented by NOVA Employment, Focus on Ability asks filmmakers to focus on the ability of people with disability through film.

Founder of Focus on Ability and Chief Executive Officer of NOVA Employment, Martin Wren says the festival shares hundreds of inspirational stories that have been changing attitudes toward the capacity and contribution of people with disability from around the world.

“To change attitudes is hard, you need to reach people's hearts and the filmmakers who contribute toward the festival have been demonstrably effective in the use of storytelling to change the way people see disability.

"Participation provides an opportunity to showcase our culture and values.

“The films inspire, they also educate and for everyone, I think they help in the movement toward the creation of a truly inclusive society,” he says.

Adelaide filmmaker Jessica D’Aguanno has participated in the festival for the second time, submitting a film this year titled The Unsightly Adventures of X-Raymondo Man and Zap Zap Laser Boy.

She says she wanted to create a film that is fun for children to watch with an underlying important theme.

“Through this film, we highlight that a disability doesn’t make you incapable of being who you want to be or any less special than any other person.

“We hope this film will give children the insight to understand that all children are special including ones with disabilities,” she says.

Ms D’Aguanno also used the festival as an opportunity to create awareness and raise funds for Guide Dogs SA/NT, hosting a ticketed movie screening on Friday night with approximately 100 attendees.

“We are fundraising as part of this project with all proceeds going to Guide Dogs SA/NT and hope this movie will create a positive and strong influence with a heartwarming underlying message.

“Our generous sponsors donated over $1500 worth of prizes and we were able to raise money to support Guide Dogs SA/NT.

“It costs $30,000 for a Guide Dog to be trained and it warms my heart that we are able to contribute to this.

“We received positive feedback from audience members and they described the film as heartfelt and touching.”

She says the festival is important because it gives filmmakers opportunities to be creative and spread the positive message to focus on the abilities of people, not their disabilities.

Voting is now open until 5 July.

To watch the films and cast your vote click here.