Kathie Melocco - Health Activism

Blog dedicated to Social Justice and Health and Wellbeing Activism

June 02, 2013

Gotye parody encouraging organ donation discussion wins FilmLife Awards

I am very proud to be a part of The Groundswell Project - an arts and health social enterprise that fosters community discussion about death and dying in a positive and life enriching way. 

One of their great projects is the annual FilmLife Project - an annual short film festival that encourages young people to “discover, decide and discuss” organ and tissue donation. 

Last Saturday I was privileged to attend the 2nd Film Festival where the winner was announced and what a night it was.

The winning short film voted Best Film in a field of 18 films was a parody of Gotye’s 2011 hit Somebody I Used To Know produced by Brooke Huuskes. Comprising high production values and a remarkable resemblance to the original, the short film has even received the blessing of Wally De Backer (AKA Gotye) himself whose management tweeted details of the parody this week.

Since posting the winning film has been viewed by over 17,000 people on YouTube.

The Australian musician’s colossal international record has spawned thousands of internet copycat videos, but for young filmmaker Brooke her parody of the song’s video clip addressed an issue that has the potential to transform Australian lives.

The 28-year-old Monash University PhD student remade the music video to encourage others to discuss their organ and tissue donation wishes with their loved ones.

Brooke herself is an organ recipient, having received a kidney from her father– a living donor – in 2010.  This experience inspired her to enter FilmLife, - an annual film making competition that encourages young filmmakers to use their creativity to change lives by making compelling short films on the tricky topic.

Brooke’s first-hand knowledge of the importance of organ donation and the overwhelming gratitude she feels towards her father inspired her to make the film. 

Brooke’s film was particularly timely; coming at the climax of a week where the Organ and Tissue Authority  announced that official organ donor rates are at  record levels in the first quarter of 2013.

Dr Jonathan Gillis, the National Medical Director for DonateLife and judge on the FilmLife panel said, “In the first quarter of 2013, there have been 119 donors, which is a 55% increase on donors for the same period for 2012.”

“The fact is that only around 1% of hospital deaths occur in the specific circumstances where organ donation is possible, which is why we encourage all Australians to know the donation wishes of each other. The FilmLife Project is a unique way of triggering young Australians to have these important conversations with family and friends.”

Now in its second year, FilmLife is an annual initiative hosted by The Groundswell Project.  The FilmLife Project is funded by the Commonwealth Government through the Organ and Tissue Authority’s Community Awareness Grants program to support innovative projects that promote family discussion about organ and tissue donation.

Kerrie Noonan, Director of the GroundSwell Project said before her departure to the UK this week “"It's vital we find creative ways to talk about organ and tissue donation. We encourage all Australians to find and share a film they love to help start the conversation with their friends and family. To get involved in our online conversations use the Twitter #havethechat hashtag”.

The 2013 FilmLife competition called for young people aged between 16 and 28 to create a short film that brings the subject of organ and tissue donation to new audiences and from different perspectives.

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