Dying to Live doco raises issues
Local film producer Richard Todd and award-winning editor Lawrie Silverstrin have put the final edits on new documentary Dying to Live, a film about the waiting game of organ transplants in Australia.
The film premieres tonight at the Sydney Film Festival and is nominated for the Documentary Australia Foundation award.
The film follows a number of people, including Cowaramup’s Peter “Woody” Wood, who is on the waitlist for a kidney transplant. The documentary starts with an animation by Margaret River’s Mike Dunn telling the story of how seven-year-old Zaidee died of an aneurysm and became the first child in Victoria under 16 to donate her organs.
Todd, the filmmaker behind 2015’s Frackman, said the most challenging aspect of the film was the timing and logistics of each person’s story.
“The film took 21⁄ years to make from inception to completion and by the time it hits cinemas, it will be three years,” he said. “We had donor families and recipients across four States and it was basically a waiting game … never knowing when we would receive a call, or that a recipient had an organ match.
“We had film crew on standby in each State, and we needed to get to each location within 24 hours of being notified.”
Todd said the film came at a time when Australia was leading transplant research but had one of the lowest global donor participation rates.
“There just isn’t enough people listed on the official registry,” he said. “We want this film to do a few things, including having families talk to their loved ones about their decision if something ever happened to them, and for people to officially register as an organ donor.
“If people don’t know the wishes of their loved ones, about half of transplants don’t happen.”
To find out when the movie will come to WA cinemas and festivals, follow the Dying To Live Doco Facebook page.
To register as an organ donor, visit register.donatelife.gov. au.
Lawrie Silvestrin and Richard Todd.