The Focus on Ability Short Film Festival Awards held at The Concourse in Chatswood, Sydney, was a resounding success, drawing a crowd of over 500 attendees.

Speaking at the event, CEO and founder Martin Wren said he wanted to create a society where people with disability would be celebrated for their achievements and not be defined by things they could not do. “In 2009 I created the Focus on Ability Film Festival but changing attitudes and fixed beliefs is very hard, so a way to do this was with the new digital film making equipment.

“We started by giving $1,000 for the best school short film. It worked, we changed attitudes. The festival is bringing a lot of community support around disability communities and is a platform for film makers from all walks of life from all around the world,” he said.

The event has celebrated the creative spirit and resilience of individuals with disabilities, showcasing their talents through captivating short films.  It is dedicated to promoting inclusion and breaking down barriers, providing a platform for filmmakers to share their unique perspectives and stories. There were 310 finalists from 17 countries competing in this year’s festival.

The atmosphere at The Concourse was electric as winners took the stage to receive their well-deserved accolades. The diversity and creativity on display was inspiring, reflecting the power of film to transcend boundaries and amplify the voices of those often underrepresented in mainstream media.

Adding to the excitement of the evening was singer Paulini who graced the stage with a stellar performance, captivating the audience with her powerful vocals. The event also featured a performance by Matt McLaren and the Star Ability dancers, showcasing the incredible abilities and talents of individuals with disabilities in the realm of dance.

The festival will be back taking entries from early 2024. To view the event and to learn more visit

Photo: Paulini with the StarAbility Dance Group