The Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, has thrown her support behind a new Australian film about organ and tissue donation that is due to air on ABC TV this Sunday, 6.30pm.
The Last Race is a 30-minute drama about a family suddenly faced with a decision on whether they should donate the organs of 25-year-old Mike, and a race against time to save a life.
“It is a film that can help to save lives,” Ms King said.
“It will help families understand why they need to ask and know each other’s donation wishes.”
Based on real life events, The Last Race draws inspiration from the personal story of the film’s producer, Anita Belgiorno-Nettis.
Nine years ago, she explained, her marathon runner brother, Mattia, became an organ donor after a fatal training accident.
“My brother’s passing was a highly traumatic time for my family,” Ms Belgiorno-Nettis said.
“If we hadn’t had the discussion with Mattia, it would have been very difficult to make the decision about organ donation.
“The Last Race tells one of the many stories about a topic that might affect any of us, a decision that any of us may have to make, and the chance to change a person's life for the better.
“As we see the family reach their decision, the film asks, ‘what would you do, and how would you decide if you didn't know?”
The film was officially launched yesterday at the location where most its scenes were shot – St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.
An audience of the cast, donor families, transplant recipients, organ donation and transplantation clinical staff and media attended the launch as part of DonateLife Week – a national awareness week which aims to promote organ and tissue donation, and facilitate communication and decision-making about the issues.
The DonateLife Week 2012 theme is '‘ask and know your loved ones’ wishes", because in Australia the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased.
The movie was co-produced by Tristram Miall and directed by Jeremy Cumpston. It was created with the financial assistance from the Australian Government.
Following its national broadcast on Sunday, The Last Race will be made available to hospitals, schools and community groups as part of an online educational resource.
The resource kit includes interviews with individuals working in the sector, key people involved in the creation of the film and information about organ and tissue donation.
The trailer, stills, cast and crew and other information are available by clicking here.
What the experts say about the film:
“This beautifully crafted film reminded us once again how vital this sensitive issue is.” Andrew Upton & Cate Blanchett
"I was moved to tears ...beautifully done on all levels. It really packed a punch." Hugh Jackman
"...a seismic quake set to shatter your complacency about organ donation" Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 2012