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Focus on Ability™ Film Festival Lights Up Charlton's Rex Theatre

Focus on Ability™ Film Festival Lights Up Charlton's Rex Theatre

Publish date: 3 April 2024

Charlton's Crafting Calm and Connection event, co-organised by Buloke Shire Council and VALiD (Western Victoria), invited community members to immerse themselves in a series of short films, last week, and to celebrate the creativity and resilience of filmmakers with disabilities.

The event attracted an intimate and diverse audience who shared a profound appreciation for the transformative power of storytelling.

With each of the films running for around five minutes, individuals and groups wandered in to catch a story or a number of them, each unfolding narratives that delved into personal triumphs, dreams, and the everyday lives of individuals with disabilities.

Admission to the event was free, made possible by the support of VALiD, Australian and Victorian Government’s Community Recovery Hubs Program, ensuring that no one was excluded from the experience. The inclusion of the sensory area became a peaceful retreat for some, illustrating the event’s commitment to inclusivity.

The artistry and authenticity of the films not only entertained but also sparked meaningful conversations among attendees and sometimes a few tears too as the messages tugged at the heartstrings.

Buloke Shire Mayor Cr Alan Getley said that many expressed they found the experience deeply humbling.

“Some stepped forward to share their own stories of hope and demonstrated their unwavering support for the abilities and aspirations of people with disabilities by taking part in the social media photo booth, which was truly heartwarming,” he said.

As the event wrapped up, the organisers reminded community members that entries for the next Focus on Ability Film Festival were open and called on local filmmakers to seize this opportunity to shine a light on the Buloke region and its talents.

With over $100,000 in cash and prizes available, the competition is expected to draw even more attention and entries than ever before, visit

The organisers of the Charlton film event expressed their enthusiasm for showcasing the films at other locations within Buloke. Any community group interested in hosting the event is encouraged to reach out to Buloke’s Community Recovery Team for further information by calling 1300 520 520.

Crafting calm and connection photo 1 Jana and Liam

VALiD Western Victoria’s Jana Hand Community Development Team Leader and Liam Doyle Community Development Worker and Researcher.

Crafting Calm and connection photo 2 Wendy Jo Anne

Wendy Bidstrup Jo and Anne Page and of Birchip.

Crafting calm and connection photo 3 Brigitta and David

Brigitta and David Beaty of Charlton.

Crafting calm and connection photo 4 Kevin ODeaKevin O’Dea of Charlton.