Dialog Box

Aged | Community | Health & Wellbeing
A Sense of Self
A SENSE OF SELF is a documentary about acclaimed TV journalist Liz Jackson, who is diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s disease that cripples her with pain and panic attacks. She turns the lens on herself to make the most challenging story of her life. Using her formidable compulsion for the truth she courageously explores some big and confronting questions: What does Parkinson’s do to you? Can it be cured or helped? What does it mean for your cognitive abilities? Your sense of self and independence? Your friends and family? Through her investigation she is surprised to discover she is making a story that celebrates the transformative power of love.

How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

The film has enormous potential for impact. An astonishing 700,000 Australians are directly impacted by Parkinson’s – either as sufferers or carers. The crossover into dementia and other disorders and the impact on carers, family and friends is a significant issue for hundreds of thousands more. FROM THE FRONTLINE will be a candid and emotional insight into this important issue. For a philanthropic foundation seeking to contribute to the community's understanding of health issues and their impact, the film will be a powerful tool for compassion and understanding. Without action Parkinson’s remains a burden on society, on individuals and on carers.
Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

Together with our coalition of partners, we want the film to be used as a tool to raise public awareness of the disease, inspire community action and political change. We want to not only raise the profile and understanding of this disease but create an opportunity to discuss broader challenges thrown up by a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease: the level of confidence in the diagnosis; the drug regime and the perils of poly pharma (several and overlapping drugs); the practical daily challenge of a rigidly timed drug regime.

With our population aging we will also address more universal issues relating to serious disease in the elderly. In particular the crucial role of carers and close family in support. How active should carers and family be in the treatment process? The importance of the sufferer’s agency in the treatment process. The psychological impact of serious disease on the sufferer and those around them. By addressing these issues with articulate and honest assessments from our participants we aim to generate significant public debate about this complicated and growing problem.

The impact of our success will be measured in many different ways:
• The reach of the film and how many viewers see it. Can we reach 1 million viewers via the ABC broadcast and iView?
• The number of people actively donating to Parkinson’s Disease charities – we aim to promote an increased level of funding into research.
• The engagement of audiences in conversations about Parkinson’s Disease through traditional and social media - measured with online metrics tools.
• The educational impact of the film on audiences where the film is used in educational and professional settings measured via an online survey.
• A shift in government policy and funding towards the recognition of Parkinson’s as a national health priority which will promote investment in better care and support for people living with Parkinson’s; access to Parkinson's Nurse Specialists; equitable access to medications and therapies; investment in upskilling the workforce to enable timely diagnosis; investment and capacity-building in Parkinson’s research.

What is your education and outreach strategy?

The ABC plan to screen it prime time in the Monday 8.30pm slot. The target audience is the ABC Four Corners audience. The filmmaking team approached the ABC with this timeslot in mind because of Liz Jackson’s long history on the program which guarantees the film will reach its best and largest audience. It’s not unknown for the slot to be watched by over a million people – a number we hope to reach given Liz’s fame.

Beyond the TV premiere and associated iview release, the team plan to partner with specialist health organisations such as Parkinson’s Australia, Dementia Research Australia, and carers' associations to run a national community outreach speaking tour with Liz and Martin.

The film will provide a platform to create a conversation that deepens engagement and understanding of the issues with policy makers.
We will seek to host a parliamentary in the Federal Parliament and aim to partner with the Parliamentary friendship group, Parliamentary Friends of Parkinson's and Parkinson’s Australia. The friendship group’s role is to support the work of Parkinson's Australia in improving funding for services and to broaden research and awareness for people living with Parkinson's disease.

A suite of materials will be created by to support screenings. We plan to create professional education guides for use in the medical, health and wellbeing sectors and universities as well as community discussion guides to support the community outreach.

It is anticipated the film will not only have a huge impact in Australia, but will have a long life on the world festival circuit and screening to international audiences.

We have engaged Media Stockade to work on further developing our impact and outreach strategy.
Bentley Dean and Martin Butler and Liz Jackson
Bentley Dean and Martin Butler and Carolyn Johnson
Total budget
55 Minutes