Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Focus On Ability III Was A Hit

26 Aug 2011Last night was NOVA Employments night of nights... Where we all gathered together for the airing of the finalist's films, for The Annual Focus On Ability Short Film Competition at Fox Studios, in Sydney. I went along as the ‘unofficial photographer' and as a spectator, to see who took out the big cash prizes for the best short film.

Once again, all of the 150+ guests congregated in a cornered off VIP section of the movie theatre's foyer, where they were greeted with wine, beer, champagne, soft drink and lovely hot and cold hors d'oeuvres.

First, everyone mingled, with chatter buzzing about who could possibly take out the title of best short film of the 2011 Focus On Ability Comp.

This year, there were two categories; the open entrant category and the schools category. The winners of the open entrant and schools category were set to receive a huge $5000 cash prize and the runners up, a remarkable $1500.

After some happy snapping by me (where many jokes were made of how all of the shots taken, will be peering up people's noses) and a substantial amount of light-hearted chatter, we were ushered into our own designated movie theatre, not forgetting to grab a bucket of popcorn and a drink on the way!

Once seated, we were warmly welcomed by NOVA's very own, Martin Wren, CEO, who dazzled with his comedy stylings. Martin introduced our live entertainment, the very funky Yossi on vocals and Albert on the drums, and after their rendition of ‘Play That Funky Music', the films were to begin.

Up first were the Open entrant films, where we enjoyed Kismet, Transitional Times, Greg's Story, Lili Can and Working With Ability. When the films finished, Martin was overjoyed to announce the winner of first place which was Kismet, by Kalani Gacon, and the runner up which was Lili Can, by Melissa Morgan. There was also a surprise winner for NOVA Employment's staff choice, which was presented to Working With Ability, by Annette Krause.

After the giant novelty cheques were handed over, we then enjoyed hearing about the life story of an inspirational man who plays wheelchair basketball for the NOVA Employment Razorbacks Wheelchair Basketball Team. Grant Mizens, who became paralysed at age 16 from a car accident, has been playing wheelchair basketball for over 10 years, studied abroad, and represented his country, whilst competing for Australia in the Paralympics.

It was then my turn to get up and say a few words, and try and recruit more people to my website, before we pushed on to the second half of the film viewings.

During the school group category, we watched Focus On Employ Ability, Friday's Cafe and Employ Ability. Following the end of the schools category, it was yet again time for Martin to announce the winning schools. The winner of the $5000 prize went to Hawkesbury High School, for Focus On Employ Ability, this was very exciting for me, as I got to chat in length with the boy's before the films commenced, letting them know that I went to their school over 10 years ago, they were a lovely bunch of guys who were very excited to have won. Runners up award went to Kingsgrove North High School for Friday's Cafe, who received $1500. There was also a staff pick for Glenwood High's, Employ Ability.

While everyone was getting ready to leave and head home, we were entertained once more by Yossi and Albert, who finished off the night with ‘Funky Town'.

As everyone left, they got some mementos to take with them; a NOVA Employment goody bag, and a NOVA Employment Razorback's Wheelchair Basketball Team t-shirt, just to remember us by.

A great night was had by all. Congratulations to all the winners and all the finalists who got to see their films played on the big screen, and we hope to see you all next year, along with many more competitors!

If you'd like to view any of the winning films, head on over to

Yossi and Albert

Grant from the NOVA Employment Razorbacks

Jo Blogs

Martin with Jo Blogs

Martin Wren CEO of NOVA Employment

Open Entrant runner up

The lovely ladies from Kingsgrove North High School

School Category runner up

School Category winners

Open Entrant staff choice

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