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The 70th Sydney Film Festival announced the seventh year of its Screenability program




The 70th Sydney Film Festival today announced the seventh year of its Screenability program – a program comprised of outstanding films created by filmmakers living with disability.

Curated by Screenability Programmer Rebecca McCormack, a total of six works will screen in the program including SXSW Grand Jury Award winner Angel Applicant, Sundance-selected doc-fiction The Tuba Thieves, and the powerfully personal documentary Is There Anybody Out There? Also in the selection the world premiere of three Australian Screenability Filmmakers Fund for NSW short films – 14 in February, Chum and Fighting.

In its seventh consecutive year, the Festival continues to champion inclusivity by offering audio-described and open-captioned screenings of the films in the Screenability program, as well as a diverse selection of English-subtitled films.

Screenability at Sydney Film Festival forms part of a broader initiative aimed at increasing the involvement of underrepresented groups in the screen industry, with a particular emphasis on showcasing films by filmmakers with disabilities within a festival context.

Rebecca McCormack said, "Screenability empowers screen practitioners with disabilities, enabling them to share their genuine stories and introduce fresh perspectives to audiences. The 2023 Screenability program features compelling and thought-provoking films from global storytellers and will debut three imaginative new shorts from local storytellers."

Richard Cohen, Acting Head of Screen NSW said, “Screen NSW is thrilled that the talent and creativity of filmmakers with disability will be showcased once again this year at the 70th Sydney Film Festival. The Screen NSW Screenability Filmmakers Fund offers filmmakers with disability the opportunity to tell authentic stories of the lived experience of disability to audiences on a global scale. Be sure to catch all three films at this year’s Festival.”

Sydney Film Festival runs from 7-18 June 2023.

Flexipasses and subscriptions to Sydney Film Festival 2023 are on sale now.  Call 1300 733 733 or visit for more information. The full Sydney Film Festival program is announced on Wednesday 10 May 2023, when tickets to specific film sessions will be on-sale.

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Sydney Film Festival will celebrate its 70th birthday from Wednesday 7 June to Sunday 18 June 2023, offering Sydneysiders another exciting season of cinema amidst a whirlwind of premieres, red-carpet openings, in-depth discussions, film guests and more.  

Sydney Film Festival is a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar and is one of the world’s longest-running film festivals. For more information, visit

The 70th Sydney Film Festival is supported by the NSW Government through Screen NSW, the Federal Government through Screen Australia, and the City of Sydney.  


Winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Award, Ken August Meyer brings a unique perspective to the works of artist Paul Klee, drawing parallels between their experiences of a life-threatening illness.
As art director Meyer finds his symptoms from the autoimmune disease systemic scleroderma intensifying, he finds a deep connection in the work of esteemed Swiss-German painter Paul Klee. Forced to flee Nazi Germany, Klee began suffering from a range of mysterious symptoms, which had a powerful impact on his art. Filmed over ten years and titled after one of Klee’s last works, Angel Applicant is a visually stunning, inventive and often humorous documentary. An immensely personal exploration of the paintings of Klee – and how to find solace in art – told from an enlightening perspective.

Born with a disability so rare that no reliable statistics about it exist, Ella Glendining goes on a global search for answers and others who share her experience.
While UK filmmaker and writer Ella, who was born without hip joints and with short thigh bones, loves her body fiercely, she has to navigate ableism and discrimination daily. “There is this missing piece of the puzzle in my life… finding someone exactly like me,” she says, commencing a search. A revealing and powerful documentary, Is There Anybody Out There? chronicles Ella’s quest across the globe, combining her personal diaries with conversations with family members, friends, specialists and other individuals with shared experiences. Along the way, Ella continues to challenge societal expectations and finds lasting connections.

A wave of tuba thefts in southern Californian schools prompts filmmaker and d/Deaf artist Alison O’Daniel’s Sundance-selected fiction-non-fiction exploration into sound – and its absence.
Debut director O’Daniel reframes the impact of the 2011-2013 tuba burglaries into a stunning exploration of sound in this audacious docudrama that premiered in Sundance’s NEXT strand. O’Daniel’s groundbreaking work, drawing on her own experiences, features debut actor Warren ‘Wawa’ Snipe and newcomer Nyeisha ‘Nyke’ Prince alongside Russell Harvard and renowned d/Deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim. The result challenges the audience to re-evaluate the meaning of sound, using some highly inventive methods, including creative captioning.


When Arabella, a hard-of-hearing school student, begins spending time discussing schoolwork with Mr Chapman, she starts to find herself isolated. As her teacher’s grooming unfolds, she must hold onto the good energy that surrounds her.

When Mary, a fiercely independent woman with vision impairment, has a mishap, a friendly stranger steps in to help. The two bond – but Mary notices all isn’t quite as it seems.

Xavier, a man living with Bipolar, wakes with a goading presence in his room, soon joined by a more supportive character. As these two presences battle, he must rise above the bickering and ready himself for the day.




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