Focus on Ability Short Film Festival

Three Victorian Specialist Schools have been shortlisted for the Focus on Ability Short Film Festival.  The Red Carpet Event was held in Chatswood, NSW earlier this year….




Students participating in VCALs ‘Personal Development’ Unit submitted three films into the 2017 ‘Focus on Ability’ film festival. Students attended an excursion to ‘Top Design’ in Melbourne, where they watched several award winning, student made short films. The group analysed different camera angles and discussed the intended purpose of cinematic techniques. Students then split up into three groups and storyboarded, scripted, rehearsed, filmed and edited their own pieces. Students added royalty free compositions to add tension and mood to their films.


The topics of the films varied in each group. One focussed on the pit-falls of having a superpower and another an action/revenge story about a school bully. The third short was a documentary of Hume Valley School’s debutante ball. Students involved in making this filmed the rehearsal process and interviewed staff and students involved in the dance.


The films were selected for a Melbourne screening at the Royal Chancellor Hotel on Lonsdale Street. All students who participated in making the films attended the festival to celebrate their hard work.




The idea behind ‘The CAN teens’ was to celebrate the achievements of the students at Yarraville Special Developmental School. Parallel to that it is also a story about the Canteen program and how it is managed and run by the senior students at the school. Yarraville SDS is a school that caters to students with moderate to severe intellectual disability. Running the canteen program on a weekly basis to cater for half the school community is a massive achievement for the students, some of whom have been running the program for several years now. We are proud that our teens can achieve these great outcomes.


A film project focusing on a popular cooking program at Yarraville Special Developmental School has been shortlisted for a national film award.  YSDS entered The CAN teens (filmed by students & staff) in the Focus on Ability short film festival.  The film caught the eye of judges and it has been shortlisted in the documentary category.


And the winner is……



We Are Here is a short film made by the senior students of Bass Coast Specialist School.  The idea started with a discussion at a school leaders’ celebration of local schools and Bass Coast Shire representatives.  The Shire offered to fund the school to produce a film on inclusion and access within the shire.  The end result is scripted and spoken by the students, filmed and produced by the students under the guidance of filmmaker, Mick Green.  Mick also invented mounts so the cameras could be attached to wheelchairs.


NOVA Employment CEO spoke of the online voting and its ability to change attitudes about people with disability and move towards an inclusive society.  I believe the film the students from Bass Coast Specialist School leads the way towards breaking down barriers.  It won the online voters section for School Documentary and the number of votes shows the power of a small community joining together as one.

Spending the $10,000 vouchers from REBEL will be a load of fun but more importantly this experience has put the importance of an inclusive society into the spotlight.  The film is currently being shown in New York, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and the other 16 countries that submitted entries in this competition.