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Storm in a Teacup
Aged, Arts, Community, Disability, Health & Wellbeing
SYNOPSIS – STORM IN A TEACUP The women alongside some of the world’s great artists were more than just wives. Dali and Gala Dali, Picasso & Jacqueline Roque, Monet & Camille and closer to home Brett & Wendy Whitely all proved to be dynamic partnerships that inspired the artists, enabled their genius and saw them through highs and lows. Renowned Western Australian artist Leon Pericles’s wife Moira is no exception. Until 2009 Moira managed everything about Leon and his work distributing his artwork to hundreds of galleries and collectors around the nation, managing a team of art staff, exhibitions around the country, the framing business, her own art business and curatorial roles, but most importantly she was Leon’s creative sounding board for his work. Moira’s role was recognised among fellow WA artists who have been known to say ‘I wish I had a Moira’, acknowledging the great support she was to Leon and how crucial this kind of security can be for an artist. However Leon’s business partner and wife Moira is no longer the woman she used to be. Moira faces increasing mental decline with Alzheimer’s disease, and Leon’s world has turned upside down at a time when he needs her most. This year Leon faces his greatest challenge yet as he prepares for a major retrospective of his entire life’s work in Perth at Linton & Kay in November, 2018. As both the director and as Leon and Moira’s daughter, and a participant in the film, I bring a personal insight to their relationship as partners in business and as a married couple dealing with enormous change. For me this is a love story and one that I hope will resonate with people well beyond the art narrative given the global themes of love, loss, fear and illness. Audiences will see our flawed and chaotic family as one that many can relate to. It’s never far from my thoughts that I am potentially third in line to inherit this genetic disease, and I see this film as a way for me to process this personally and share with the audience as I explore and unpack the nature of the illness, the rapidly evolving science to beat it, and confront the fear that also faces hundreds of thousands of others. This film is also vital to Australia’s art history, exploring how Leon’s work has evolved from the 70’s when the Australian art scene was thriving internationally and locally, to the resources boom in WA in the 80’s and 90’s, to the lows of the GFC and the closing of galleries in WA. My family face a challenge sadly shared by many – but each journey with dementia is unique and every family deals with it as best they can and in this case the loss of Mum’s memory has lasting effects on Dad and his work.
Aged, Community, Health & Wellbeing, History, Sport/Adventure, Welfare, Youth
Champion Girls looks beyond the layers of fake tan and hairspray into the little known world of ‘Physie’ – a uniquely Australian all female sport that has grown from posture and breathing correction exercises into a national underground dance phenomenon. Sometimes described as synchronised swimming on land – Physical Culture – or ‘Physie’ for short - has been keeping the nation fit and upright since its beginnings in Hobart 125 years ago. This once educational exercise regime, which was the basis for PE in our schools, is currently undergoing a massive resurgence and spreading across the globe.We follow three generations of women aged 6 – 96, from country and suburban community halls to the sell out National Finals at the Sydney Opera House. But it’s not all about the big trophy. As the lycra is hand washed and the fishnets are rolled away, we discover that Physie is more about staying mentally and physically healthy throughout life, of belonging and finding your tribe. Shirley is an elder stateswoman of Physie and she has graced the Opera House stage for 40 years. But she knows the sport must move with the times and at 88 years of age, it’s time for her to hand over her role to the next generation. At 21, Stephanie cannot remember life without physie. But as she chases her dream of becoming Grand Champion Girl, runs a growing physie club with her mum and nears the end of her double degree, she comes head to head with the pressures and responsibilities of real life.Hannah is 13 and this tall, tree climbing, clever country girl is clinging to the last of her childhood. Doing physie has helped Hannah grow in confidence and is a family sport for her, her mum and two sisters. But when mum moves away, Hannah quits physie. How will they cope without each other and the sport they loved and shared? Champion Girls is a joyful film exploring the cross generational experiences that occur in this unique cultural space. As we take this rollercoaster ride through competition and life, we are led to wonder, is Physie a relic of the past or a model for our future?
Aged, Arts, Community, Health & Wellbeing
“Since I was a child, he often confided his two greatest fears – to lose his mind and end up in a nursing home. Both those things happened.” RBTicketyboo is an unflinchingly personal, artistic journey into the dark realms of losing my father to dementia. The motivation for telling this painful, intimate story is to explore the ways we coped with his changing behavior and personality, the loss of connection and reflection on what can be done to help others manage this cruel disease when it moves into people’s lives. Dad was a non-famous, self-taught artist who had a particularly rapid descent into dementia. In the early stages, when asked how he was feeling, he’d smile and say ‘ticketyboo’ - a word he heard as a child during World War II. But he wasn’t ticketyboo and kept it a secret for a while. When it wasn’t a secret anymore, none of us knew what to do. He was a realist artist whose world became surreal and it frightened him. Holding hands gave him comfort so it was especially poignant when one of his final sketches was of his own hand that appears to implore us to hold onto him. The ravages of the illness are seen in the evolution of his artistic style and devolution of his signature. Losing the main vowel from ‘Tom’ was a metaphor for his loss of identity. There were amusing incidents of him smuggling artworks out of the house and respite carers smuggling them back in.Through interviews with family, psychologists, respite carers and experts in the field of dementia, the documentary bolsters a painful story with positive, practical management tools; emergent technology and educational resources for families coping with the illness as well as how other cultures approach it. Interview content will be interspersed with short, poetic, artistic sequences showing my father’s point of view to give the audience an impression of how the world looked and sounded to him as the illness took hold. I still suffer guilt about what I did and didn’t do throughout the final years of his life and wished my clumsy attempts at connection were more informed. The old black and white photo of dad’s sunnies on my chubby baby face has become a metaphor for my motivation to make this documentary - trying to see and understand the world through his eyes.