Createability: Q&A with Louise Hodgson

13 Nov 2017 /

As a part of Artstate Lismore, Screenworks are premiering a number of short documentaries produced as part of the annual Createabilty initiative that provides funded opportunities for professional filmmakers in regional NSW to profile artists with a disability living and creating in their communities. To find out more about the Createability program and the screening we had a chat with Louise Hodgson, Screenworks’ Createability & Events Coordinator.
Photo: Painter Mbtha Nguta of Lismore smiles for Darius Devas behind the camera (Dir: Darius Devas, Byron Bay, NSW). Photo by Lewis Templar.

2017 Createability documentaries are being screened as a part of Artstate Lismore. Can you talk a bit about this program, and why it came to be?

CREATEABILITY is a Screenworks initiative that funds, develops, produces and exhibits short films that showcase artists with disability that are based in regional NSW. The objectives are to profile the work produced by regional artists with disability and to break down barriers that can form social exclusion. It is a project funded and supported by Create NSW and delivered in partnership with the ABC who have offered advice, provided masterclasses and acted as supervising producers to ensure the best films possible. The project started in 2015 after ABC North Coast’s Catherine Marciniak and Screenworks General Manager Ken Crouch created and developed the project specifically to help provide skills and opportunities for regional filmmakers along with providing a voice to regional artists with a disability. Now in its third year, a total of 20 Createability short films have been completed with a number of them being broadcast on ABC TV and ABC iview to coincide with the annual International Day of People with Disability.

What’s something that has surprised you that has come out of the Createability program?

In the Screenworks office, Ken Crouch (Screenworks General Manager) has always referred to Createability as ‘the project that keeps giving back’ and he’s right. I’m impressed with how far these short films have taken both the filmmakers and the subjects over the past few years; geographically, creatively and professionally. Filmmakers and artists have travelled to Europe and the Americas to present their films and their talents at film festivals and events. The successes it has brought them in their careers are still being seen and has been described as the ‘Createability Domino Effect’. Since the having the films broadcast on the ABC and iview, the filmmakers have been able to build on that to use their production credits to progress their careers. Many of the artists have gone on to collaborate with national institutions and international festivals at the highest levels in their creative fields.

Can you tell me about some of the films we’ll see at the screening?

This year’s collection comprises eight films and the standard is very high. All the filmmakers have worked very hard to find and to tell their stories, the result is an impressive array of artistic disciplines on show. Four of the films have been produced by Northern Rivers filmmakers featuring Northern Rivers artists; they feature a pair of multidisciplinary artists who reconnect over the course of the film, a multi-talented dancer, an artist who loves colour and an accomplished singer songwriter who will be treating us to a live performance on the night. The other films in the collection have been submitted from Wagga Wagga, Newcastle and Albury. Each piece profiles a very different type of artist and the audience can expect to meet a found jewellery artist, a fine pencil illustrator, a graphic designer and painter who loves nature. In each case the artists’ stories are related in a charmingly engaging way.

You’re also speaking about Createability as a part of a panel with Catherine Marciniak (Senior Features Reporter, ABC) and Karenza Ebejer (independent filmmaker). What are you looking forward to discussing as a part of this panel?

Both Catherine and Karenza are great advocates of the Createability initiative and I’m excited to sit down with them and share their stories of first hand experiences and involvement in this amazing project. We will cover all aspects of the program during our panel discussion. I’m especially interested in the search for the story – Catherine comes from a very experienced filmmaking background and as a local ABC producer she has a wealth of knowledge to impart about how she was able to educate, encourage and inspire the Createability filmmakers during the script, filming and editing process. Karenza, a Lismore local, has been successful in applying for two consecutive years of competitive rounds for Createability and her films clearly demonstrate an emerging talent to be watched. I’m sure that she will have some insights into how she tracked her subjects down and honed their stories into the beautiful Createability films they have become.

What are you most looking forward to at Artstate Lismore?

The program is of an impressively high calibre and pretty eclectic, there is so much to get inspired by. I’m looking forward to soaking it all in. I’m especially keen to get to Soumik Datta’s session at Lismore City Hall on Friday morning and of course the Createability Film Screening on the Friday night is most definitely worth catching – it’s the first time that the filmmakers and their artists will have seen their films on the big screen – the atmosphere promises to be a celebratory one!
For more information about Createability, head to the Artstate event, Speakers Program panel or visit