Dy­ing to Live doco raises is­sues

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Time Out - Therese Col­man

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.

Pic­ture: Therese Col­man

Lawrie Sil­vestrin and Richard Todd.

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