Sydney Film Festival announces new Screenability program

SFF My Name is EmilyThe 64th Sydney Film Festival has announced Screenability – an exciting new platform for screen practitioners with disability, in partnership with Screen NSW and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.

Screenability will showcase six cutting edge works – features My Name is Emily and Pulse, documentary Lust for Sight, and short films Drumming is Like Thunder, Struck, and Milky Pop Kid – all by filmmakers with disability at this year’s event.

Filmmakers:  Australian Daniel Monks (Pulse) and Switzerland’s Manuël von Stürler (Lust for Sight), will attend the Festival as guests to introduce their screenings, and take part a discussion panel and workshop in partnership with the Australian Film Radio and Television School.  All Screenability filmmaker Q&As and introductions will be Auslan interpreted.

“Screenability is an international program showcasing films by filmmakers with disability from France, New Zealand, Australia and the UK,” said Sydney Film Festival’s Screenability Programmer Sofya Gollan. “These titles offer gripping insights and unique perspectives, with creatives with disability leading the narrative, revealing a depth of talent and professionalism, as well as startling, provocative, and authentic cinema.”

“The stories range from the viewpoint of an artist losing his most vital sense, to the experience of queer teen with disability in a body-swapping sci-fi, and a tale of teenage love told by a filmmaker immobilised by motor neurone disease.  These films, made by those with lived experience of disability, are boldly breathing new life into storytelling.”

Gollan will present a free Sydney Film Festival discussion:  Bluffer’s Guide to Cinema on 17 May (6.30pm) at the City of Sydney Kings Cross Library, focusing on the stories that filmmakers with disability are creating worldwide.

The Festival has also expanded its access and inclusion policy, introducing audio described and open captioned screenings, and a relaxed screening (My Life as a Zucchini) to complement the Festival’s program – which includes over 90 English subtitled films.

Screenability at the Sydney Film Festival is part of a suite of initiatives by Screen NSW designed to boost the participation of underrepresented groups in the screen industry. The focus of Screenability is to grow participation with a wide range of industry professionals, showcasing films by filmmakers with disability in a festival context.

“This is one of the few festivals that focuses on people with disabilities driving the programming behind and in front of the camera,” said Michael Brealey, CEO Create NSW. “The Festival is just one aspect in a program of initiatives that will deliver on an open-ended policy commitment by Create NSW to work with industry to grow participation in the screen sector by Australians with disabilities.”

The 64th Sydney Film Festival runs 7 – 18 June 2017. The full program will be announced on Wednesday 10 May. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: My Name is Emily