We are very pleased to be able to pass on news of this free invitation to the premiere screening of the Film ‘Still Life’ on Wednesday 23rd September 2015 at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre.
Why this project
Cancer can be difficult topic to discuss in the community, and the meaning of survivorship varies from one individual to another. StillLife is a film produced at the ONJCWC that captures the collective lived experience of patients and their families and offers them an opportunity to express their personal stories in a way that is both comfortable and personally validating. StillLife features the stories and perspectives of six cancer patients and their families here at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre each grappling with the demands of their illness and is forced to come to terms with the mortality we all face. On one hand, life is turned upside down, a barrage of appointments, consultations, treatments, and therapies disrupt the normal flow of life and test their resilience. On another hand, time stops. Life is considered, reevaluated, affirmed. In the face of one of life’s biggest challenges, Still Life reveals that we have the capacity to become more alive when we need it most.
The impact of ‘Still Life’ underscore the Centre’s guiding philosophy: You Matter and will support the breaking of the barriers of uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis. StilLife is a new focus for creative public dialogue within the hospital community as a whole that highlights the importance of the way Austin Health values the individual patient experience at the ONJCWC.
Based in Seattle, writer, filmmaker and storytelling evangelist Drew Emery has created a significant body of work across multiple disciplines exploring themes of community, identity and belonging. After receiving his MFA in playwriting from the University of Virginia and winning the Virginia Playwriting Prize and the Howard Scammon Drama Prize, Drew moved to Seattle and developed ground-breaking work for theatre — the first performance piece for LGBT youth (Solo for Four), the first oral history piece of LGBT elders (Hidden History) and the first play to chronicle the experience of Deaf LGBT people. This play, Language of One, went onto successful runs Off-Off Broadway and by the Australian Theatre of the Deaf at the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival.
Using his foundation in oral history, Drew further developed what he calls the “collective narrative,” taking every day storytellers’ perspectives and weaving them into a whole that speaks to both the specific and the universal human experience. His first documentary project, The Bridge, addressed a generational divide by creating a virtual dialogue between LGBT elders and queer youth. Drew used the success of The Bridge to found his production company, the True Stories Project. Its first feature film, the award-winning Inlaws & Outlaws, was a critical success before becoming the centrepiece of the Hearts + Minds Campaign. This grassroots effort brought the film to over 600 community screenings across the US, playing a critical role in the advance of the marriage equality movement in the US. The film went on to an a successful extended run on US public television.
Since the success of Inlaws & Outlaws, Drew has been frequently sought after as a public speaker, guest lecturer and storytelling evangelist. The True Stories Project continues to produce vital community centered work, including shorts for the Refugee Women’s Alliance, Seattle Public Health, and Entre Hermanos, an HIV/AIDS advocacy group.
Ms Lama Majaj – Manager Arts in Healthcare, in the Integrated Cancer Services Stream of the Cancer and Neurosciences CSU. Lama brings a wealth of experience as an artist, an educator and art therapist. She has studied in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia and holds undergraduate qualifications in fine arts and graphic design and post graduate qualifications in both education and art therapy. Lama has held positions in art and teaching internationally, including as Head of Art and Technology Department, International Community School, Jordan and as Assistant Art Director at the King Hussein Foundation Research Centre and UNESCO Family Education Project in Jordan. Lama has produced and curated three major exhibitions of her own work in both Jordan and the United States and has been curator for annual exhibitions incorporating over 400 mixed media works. She has also been involved in script writing, set design and stage management as both an Art Director and Stage Manager. Lama also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in volunteering through her involvement in community arts initiatives, artist residencies, workshop development and facilitation for socially and economically disadvantaged youth. Lama spent her final year Masters of Art Therapy placement in the Palliative Care Unit, firstly at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital campus and then at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre at the Austin campus where she assisted in raising the profile of the arts and helped to deliver a number of arts based projects.