L2R: Yvonne Luxford (CEO, Palliative Care Australia); Deborah Mills (Director Policy & Strategy, Arts & Health Foundation), Sue Collins (Moonshine Movies), Mike Hill (Moonshine Movies)
By Yasmin Noone
The business and advocacy partnership between Palliative Care Australia and the Melbourne-based organisation, Moonshine Movies, has received state-wide recognition, having taken out first place in the Arts and Health Foundation category for Victoria in the Australia Business Arts Foundation’s (AbaF) Awards 2012.
The creativity and business acumen of the consumer body and the independent production group led to the 2011/12 creation of the moving picture advocacy project, LIFE Before Death, and a nationwide campaign for action to improve the quality of pain management, internationally.
The project explored untreated pain and the dramatic life-changing effect that palliative care can deliver to patients and families facing life-limiting illnesses.
Visiting the dying, their carers, families and health professionals, the filmmakers delved into the thoughts and feelings of those suffering from pain in over 11 different countries: Australia, India, Uganda, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, China/Hong Kong, Georgia and the United Kingdom.
The documentary was also launched in 160 venues within 35 countries earlier this year.
“LIFE Before Death consists of a feature film, a 55-minute television documentary and 50 short films, each addressing a specific issue relating to pain and palliative care,” said the film’s director, Mike Hill from Moonshine Movies.
“[The film] has reached over 100,000 health professionals, policy-makers, patients and other stakeholders in its mission to improve pain management and end of life care.”
The documentary, which was first screened in Australia in Canberra’s Parliament House around World Cancer Day in February, aimed to stress the importance of providing adequate access to pain management and training for professionals in opioid use.
CEO of Palliative Care Australia, Dr Yvonne Luxford, said recently the partnership between the two organisations had improved the understanding and availability of services across Australia and encouraged discussion to support improved knowledge networks.
The accompanying material of LIFE Before Death and the discussions it has raised, she added, had brought the issues surrounding end-of-life care to a broader audience, including government bodies, both in Australia and abroad.
“It’s a really moving film,” Dr Luxford also commented around the time of the film’s Australian launch.
“It’s a very honest film but it needs to be honest to get the message across.
“…I do think that people are not being prescribed opioids at the level they need them, especially in palliative and at the end-of-life care. It’s in no way intentional…
“I certainly do understand that health professionals feel concerned about patients becoming addicted to opioids. That’s why training is something that the PCA consensus statement calls for.”
The Moonshine Movies and Palliative Care Australia partnership will now go on to represent Victoria in the upcoming national AbaF Awards, held in Melbourne on 23 October.
Established in 2000, AbaF is a national organisation dedicated to connecting the arts, business and financial donors. Each year AbaF honours the finest relationships between the private sector and the arts through the prestigious national AbaF Awards.
The state-awards aim to acknowledge and celebrate the very best relationships between the arts, business and donors throughout Victoria.
“Every nomination, every award-winning Victorian entry tells the story of how different people from different sectors have worked together; to create something extraordinary,” according to the Victorian director of AbaF, Stefani Adams.
“The AbaF Awards 2012 show us what’s possible; what can be achieved when Victorian business, the arts and donors do connect.”
The AbaF Awards 2012 in Victoria were supported by event partners Arts Centre Melbourne and Arts Victoria. For more information about AbaF or the AbaF Awards 2012 in Victoria, visit www.abaf.org.au.
For details of other screenings around Australia or to order a copy of the LIFE Before Death DVD, click here.