This documentary tells the remarkable story of Emmaus Community - a great example of successful independent community living for adults with mental health and homelessness challenges.
Emmaus Community is something quite unique - possibly the only one of its kind in Australia. Psychiatrists and community nurses have spoken about how Emmaus is able to reduce hospitalisation and dependency on the mental health system. Residents who live at Emmaus speak about how it's changed their lives completely, and family members of those who live there have painted pictures of just how much Emmaus has had a positive effect on their sons, brothers, daughters and friends.
Emmaus was founded by Al Archer - a tattooed, quirky, ever-smiling, croc-wearing brother who saw a need in the mental health system and set out to create a way to fill that need.
Al was born and raised in Kenya. He went from singing and performing on stage in Sydney, London and Los Angeles to a record contract with the same record label as INXS. After making an uncommon visit to church in Los Angeles one Saturday night, he was struck by something he'd never experienced before and his life did a complete turn. He returned to Australia to work in a 500 bed homeless men's shelter in Kings Cross and from there, created Emmaus Community in Perth.
Emmaus Community is not only a shining example of positive community living for adults dealing with mental health challenges and homelessness - it's much more than that. It's a timely reminder of how the fundamental principles of love, trust and respect can change lives.
Many philanthropic foundations understand the importance of mental health and well-being and seek to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness. This documentary seeks to raise awareness of the issue of mental illness and what it means to live with mental illness and as such, to do its bit to help reduce the stigma that still exists around mental illness.
It also seeks to highlight how Emmaus Community is an example of how dependency on the mental health system can be reduced and lives improved.
Aims & Objectives
This film hopes to:
1. Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by providing an understanding of what it's like to live with mental illness through personal stories
2. Shine a light on a great example of how the mental health system in Australia can be improved by showcasing the Emmaus example
3. Inspire people through Al Archer's remarkable and motivational story
Film festival release will be our first priority and from there it's hoped we might secure a broadcast acquisition. We will seek a sales agent with the aim of extending broadcast distribution outside of Australia as well as distribution across schools and universities around Australia. Lara Damiani attended AIDC 2018 and now has a list of direct contacts across the spectrum of broadcasters and distributors which will be used for our distribution strategy. We will hold a launch screening in Perth with residents and staff of Emmaus, and with the filmmakers, providing an opportunity for an intimate Q&A session after the film. We will invite journalists and media personalities from WA to attend and aim for publicity about the screening and the film post event. We will also invite politicians and executives from the mental health system and hope that this film will help to offer them ideas for an alternative system of mental health housing that can benefit everyone. We will look to establish partnerships with organisations like SANE Australia to see how the film and associated activities can support their advocacy work. SANE Australia is a national mental health charity working to support four million Australians affected by complex mental illness. Beyond this, we will continue to come up with ways to extend our education and outreach as widely as possible.