A massive big THANKS to all the wonderful people who packed into Bella Union last night for The Last Survivor screening. What an absolutely fabulous start to the Social Action Film Night with a full house! To everyone who attended and helped spread the word (and love) I extend my deep my gratitude and hope that you got as much out of it, as I did in organising the event. It was a pleasure to connect with many of you and meet wonderful new people I have been eager to connect with. I thank my friends and fellow SSE students/staff/mentor who came along to support me personally.
Extra special thanks to all the wonderful people involved in making the night a success, beginning with our gracious artists Sista Zai and Abe Ape for their outstanding and deeply resonating poetry performances as well as Joel McKerrow for allowing us to play Land, a moving and veracious tribute acknowledging Australia’s history of indigenous genocide.
Thank you to MC extraordinaire Tina Jenson who wove it all together with her passion for story and change and her engaging and warm style of presentation. It is the first time I have used an MC at a screening and I believe that Tina fulfilled the role splendidly, showing a deep respect for the artists, film, guests and audience. I hope I can convince Tina to be our resident MC! Stay tuned for more storytelling events and join Tina’s facebook page – Once Upon a Time in Melbourne.
Thank you to Sam Chareslworth (from Hotham Mission) and Robyn Gould (from ASRC) for helping us to connect with and better understand the journey of refugees and what practical assistance we can provide. Please take the time, if you haven’t already to find out more about what these awesome organisations do, by checking out their profiles on the Arts in Action Collaborator page. I have certainly come out of this with a nice long list of actions myself and I feel much more empowered about what I can do! Additionally because of the tremendous support shown for the screening and a great turn out, I can make a monetary donation to both Hotham and ASRC on behalf of Arts in Action. Do let us know if you’re signing up for the Run for Refugees or the Age Run Melbourne. Post it on the Arts in Action facebook page, so we can support YOU!
I think there is a certain power in watching a documentary film like The Last Survivor on a large screen with a room full of compassionate people who open their hearts and minds to the stories of tragedy, hope and triumph. Whilst some may say we are “preaching to the converted” and that everyone there already cares about and understands the issues, it is my belief that the “converted” are those that have the greatest chance of making a difference. Education and advocacy starts with those who stand for something. By attending a Social Action film event, audience members are, by virtue of being there, actively standing up for humanity. A film like the Last Survivor will stir something different in everyone who watches it so please, if you feel inclined to do so, let us know what you took away from the night by posting your reactions, inner stirrings, hopes and inspiration on the Arts in Action facebook wall.
For me personally, rather than feeling guilty and helpless I’m more aware of how genocide occurs and what campaigns and organisations I can join and become involved in. A list of these can be found on the Arts in Action website on the TAKE ACTION page. Also, check out “Imagine the End of Atrocity” a project by 3 Generations, that creates a vision of what our world would be, free of genocide and crimes against humanity. Inspired by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who teaches that vision is essential in reaching our goals, “Imagine the End of Atrocity” is the ongoing collection of inspirations and hopes of visionaries and activists. Imagine what would happen if each one of the 120 people in the audience all took JUST 1 STEP and acted on at least one of the options? Due to a little technical glitch I was not able to put up the closing slide with a quote from Ruth Messinger which for me reflects the intent and energy behind Arts in Action.
Special thanks to the amazing people at Righteous Pictures for making the documentary. RP speaks with the voice of a new generation; they are a collective of artists and social activists committed to creative, character-based, global projects as a means to bring about social change. If you are a teacher or community educator, check out their Classroom Action Project, an educational outreach campaign focused on bringing The Last Survivor to administrators, teachers, nonprofits and students around the world. The goal is to use the compelling stories represented in the film as a springboard to educate secondary school students about genocide prevention and refugee communities and to follow this exposure with the tools and contacts needed to get involved and take action. Visit www.thelastsurvivor.com/education
Finally I’d like to thank Bella Union and their wonderful staff for hosting the monthly Social Action Film Night. I absolutely adore this venue, its character, history, charm and ambience. It’s not your ordinary cinema, with flags uniting cultures, traditions and nations, descending from the ceiling, to the lounge chairs lining the side walls and a bar for pre and post screening drinks and mingling, it’s an honour and pleasure to be occupying this unique art and entertainment space. Do check out their other awesome events. http://www.bellaunion.com.au/
For all the night’s action look out for more photos on the Arts in Action facebook page!
I look forward to sharing next month’s film, Deaf Jam on June 28th. Tickets will be on sale from Tuesday 5th June. To be part of the action make sure you have signed up to the Arts in Action mailing list (subscription box top left).