(Photo credit: Darius Devas of Byron Bay films painter Mbatha Nguta in his Lismore studio for Createability 2017 Photo credit: Lewis Templar)

Screenworks, the ABC and Create NSW have joined forces to partner on Createability 2017 – an initiative which profiles regional artists with a disability.

The initiative which is funded by Screenworks and is supported by Create NSW in partnership with the ABC, is designed to showcase the creative skills and talents of artists and filmmakers with a disability in regional NSW.

In May, eight regional NSW filmmakers each received $5000 to make their short films. These filmmakers have been working with ABC Open Producers to develop their scripts and filmmaking techniques.

We are pleased to announce the eight artists that will be profiled. In the Northern Rivers region of NSW, the following artists will be featured in Createability 2017:

Mbatha Nguta (Lismore):

Mbatha paints abstract artworks that have garnered national recognition for their bold and distinctive style. Everyone who has witnessed Mbatha in his studio say it is a sight to behold – his process to create his works is a piece of art in itself.

Grace Hickey (Yamba):

Grace is a singer, songwriter, and musician from the Clarence Valley in Northern NSW. Her striking stage presence and soulful songs have featured at venues, festivals, and events across Northern NSW for over four years. Her latest appearance was at the 2017 Byron Bay Bluesfest. Grace will gain co-producing and music credits for the film.

Max McAuley (Lismore):

Max is a principal dancer at Sprung!! Integrated Dance Theatre in Lismore. Over the last 6 years under the guidance of a number of dedicated and high profile professionals including Michael Hennessey, Phillip Channells and Phillip Blackman, he has performed and toured with Sprung!! in many productions across the country.

Mick Parr (Nimbin) with Tim Winton-Brown (Bangalow):

Mick has travelled the world with his interest in dance for several years. He has completed a Diploma of Visual Art through TAFE and now continues his interests in art and sculpture. He met Tim in 1998 during a disability dance class in Lismore and soon they were performing together on stage. Tim has a Bachelor of Journalism and writing and producing credits in this film.

Createability will profile artists in four other regions outside Northern NSW:

Stephen Williams (Wagga Wagga):

In 2010, illustrator Stephen Williams injured his vertebrae in an accident that left him a quadriplegic. Picking up a pencil for the first time since his accident felt very strange. He found drawing difficult at first but he kept working at it and now accepts commissions from paying customers.

Wayne Emerson (Wagga Wagga):

Wayne is a painter and textile artist who has exhibited for more than 30 years in Wagga Wagga. Wayne’s artwork conveys an affinity with the natural environment. His subject matter includes animals, Australian birds, plants, and waterfalls.

Kurt Saggers (Albury):

Kurt is an artist based in Albury in southern New South Wales. He creates jewellery out of pieces of objects he has found on old properties and homesteads – after being invited of course. Kurt will earn a writing credit in this Createability film.

Dom Freestone (Newcastle):

Dom is up and coming graphic designer with a background in fine art. Recently chosen as a luminary of the Newcastle University Arts scene, his art can be found on permanent display at the University of Newcastle.

Screenworks General Manager, Ken Crouch, is looking forward to seeing the final films, “We know from reading the scripts that all of the Createability filmmakers have unearthed an impressive array of talents in their featured artists and that there will be some beautiful filmic techniques employed to tell their stories on screen”

“Over half the Createability films produced in 2015 and 2016 are still enjoying international film festival success and in many cases, the filmmakers and artists have had the enviable opportunity to travel overseas where they’ve been shown,” Mr Crouch said.

Create NSW CEO Michael Brealey added, “Createability has always managed to showcase such a diverse range of stories, artforms and regions, so we’re delighted that this year there are also more opportunities for screen practitioners with disability behind the camera. As ever, we’re excited to bring these to the screen and share with viewers in December.”

The Director of ABC Regional, Fiona Reynolds, said that the broadcaster is proud to partner with Screenworks and Create NSW on Createability 2017, “ABC Regional’s mission is to give a voice to the one-third of Australians who live outside of our capital cities so that their stories can be shared within their communities and with the nation”

“It’s wonderful to be able to shine a light on regional artists with a disability who are making a difference in their local communities and within the arts sector,” Mrs Reynolds said.

The films will be delivered to Screenworks in October by the filmmakers and some will be broadcast on ABC iview from Sunday 3 December 2017 to mark the International Day of People with Disability.


To download high resolution behind the scenes stills from the film shoots, please go to


Artist bios and headshots are available from Screenworks’ Createability 2017 website – https://screenworks.com.au/createability

 CREATEABILITY 2017 is supported by Create NSW and is being delivered in partnership with the ABC



For more information, interviews or pictures please contact

Ken Crouch, Screenworks General Manager

02 6687 1599 || [email protected]

Screenworks Diversity Commitment:

Screenworks are strongly committed to increasing diversity across all sectors of the screen industry. We encourage all talented filmmakers to apply to our programs regardless of their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability status. We also ask that applicants consider inclusiveness, accessibility and diversity when forming their filmmaking teams for any Screenworks initiative.

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