February 22, 2012

AUSTRALIA: Compelling Film Prompts Family Discussion of Organ and Tissue Donation

CANBERRA, Australia / Department of Health & Aging / February 22, 2012

"I was moved to tears ...beautifully done on all levels. It really packed a punch." – Hugh Jackman

A compelling new Australian film will prompt families to confront the need to ask and know each other’s donation wishes, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King said today.

“I encourage every Australian to sit down with their families and their friends and watch The Last Race next Sunday evening, February 26, 2012, at 6.30pm on ABC TV. It is a film that can help to save lives. It will help families understand why they need to ask and know each other’s donation wishes,” Ms King said.

“The Last Race shows a family struggling to make a decision on behalf of a loved one. It can be our most important decision. Our decision to save lives’, said the film’s producer, Anita Belgiorno-Nettis, Alagna Films.

The Last Race is a 30-minute drama about a family suddenly faced with a decision of whether to donate the organs of 25-year-old Mike, and a race against time to save a life. The film has been co-produced by Tristram Miall and directed by Jeremy Cumpston. It was made with financial assistance from the Australian Government.

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?’”, said Ms Belgiorno-Nettis. 

The film is inspired by Anita Belgiorno-Nettis’ personal experience nine years ago when her brother Mattia, a marathon runner, became an organ donor after a fatal accident while training.

“My brother’s passing was a highly traumatic time for my family. If we hadn’t had the discussion with Mattia, it would have been very difficult to make the decision about organ donation”, Ms Belgiorno-Nettis said. 

Talented Australian scriptwriter, Peter Schreck based the screenplay for The Last Race on Ovidio Raiteri’s poem Mattia’s Last Race, written by Anita Belgiorno-Nettis’ father in tribute to Mattia. 

Following its national broadcast on Sunday, The Last Race will be 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 Last Race will be broadcast nationally on ABC Television at 6.30pm on Sunday 26 February, the last day of DonateLife Week 2012.

The trailer, stills, cast and crew and other information is available at: http://www.thelastrace.info/index.html.
“This beautifully crafted film reminded us once again how vital this sensitive issue is.” Andrew Upton & Cate Blanchett

"...a seismic quake set to shatter your complacency about organ donation" Sydney Morning Herald 19 February 2012 

DonateLife Week is Australia’s national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation. The theme this year is ‘ask and know your loved ones’ wishes’, because in Australia the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the decease. 

DonateLife Week is led by the Organ and Tissue Authority as part of the Australian Government’s reform agenda to increase organ and tissue donation.
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