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DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS AND MENTAL WELLBEING IN THE TIME OF COVID

By August 7, 2020Uncategorized

FREE WEBINAR AT 1PM – 2.30 PM, MONDAY 20 AUGUST 2020

Film Art Media will present a webinar for documentary filmmakers as part of the Wellness Roadshow, the centrepiece of The Show Must Go On impact strategy. Over the past six months it has successfully run panel discussions for hundreds of entertainment workers across Australia to discuss the reasons why so many creative workers currently struggle to maintain mental wellbeing, let alone a sustainable creative life. These sessions aim to develop resilience to the challenges that come along with working in the entertainment industry and attendees gain skills, advice and knowledge of a broad range of resources specific to the screen industry.

Much has been done to address how the screen industry might respond to the COVID challenge and navigate a pathway to recovery. Support programs at state and federal screen agency level have been welcome. But to date there have been no forums to date to address the specific mental wellbeing concerns of documentary filmmakers.

On 20 August 2020 Film Art Media will present a dedicated Wellness Roadshow event for documentary filmmakers in partnership with the Documentary Australia Foundation and supported by Screen Australia.

This free online event will be moderated by Sue Maslin and will include discussions with Ben Steel (director), Clara Williams Roldan (Documentary Australia Foundation), Pauline Clague (documentary producer) and Julie Crabtree (psychologist).

Says producer Sue Maslin AO, “When Ben Steel, Diana Fisk and I released the documentary film, The Show Must Go On in October last year, we could not have imagined how great an issue that mental health of entertainment workers would become as we all grapple with the fall out of COVID-19. We could not have imagined that most of us would not be considered ‘workers’ at all by the Federal government and consequently fall outside the support programs. We could not have imagined the profound disruption to every aspect of screen development, production, distribution and exhibition that has left most of us reeling”.

“But there is one sector that has remained largely out of the conversation and it is the most vulnerable in the screen industry. That is, the independent documentary sector, as distinct from reality or factual entertainment which are more likely to comprise larger enterprises. These are the filmmakers who dig deep into the social, cultural and political fabric of our society and are driven deeply by curiosity and the desire to connect people with stories based in actuality”.

“I am a proud member of this community and know the challenges well. Most of us are self-employed or small businesses without the structural or organisational scale, let alone the payroll, that would trigger COVID financial support mechanisms. Our creatives are the least remunerated in the screen industry and we are routinely expected to work for months, if not years, without any development funding as the market relies more and more on polished proofs of concept, rough cuts and even almost finished films before commissioning. Many of us work in long-term isolation or in small teams on deeply challenging content.  On top of this – on top of COVID – we are now faced with the news that one of the major buyers for our content – the ABC – is cutting $5 million from independent commissions in response to further government cutbacks. And this will overwhelmingly hit the independent documentary sector”.

There are mental wellbeing consequences for documentary filmmakers as a result of all of this, yet there have been no forums to date to address the rise of isolation, anxiety and depression that affect many of in this sector.

For further details and registration to the event please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/mental-wellbeing-for-doco-filmmakers-tickets-115141485282

For interviews or for further information about the Wellness Roadshow, please contact:

Sue Maslin AO

Film Art Media

T: 0417346287

E: sue@filmartmedia.com