Film festival shows off nurses’ creativity and diversity

The second NSWNA Short Film Festival attracted a packed crowd at NIDAs Parade Theatre, who were treated to a diverse collection of films about nurses and made by nurses, in celebration of International Nurses Day 2010.

Last year’s inaugural NSWNA Short Film Festival was such a success it’s become a permanent fixture on the Association’s calendar. Tapping into nurses’ creativity, the festival provides the opportunity for nurses to tell their stories.

Selected participants completed a filmmaking workshop at NIDA to equip them with the basic skills necessary to make a short film.

Each of the 14 films that made it into the finals was unique and made in a variety of genres from a reality TV show format to documentaries about the lives of working nurses and midwives. Midwifery and childbirth, encouraging student nurses, preventative healthcare, the impact of budget problems in the health system, the emergence of super bugs, the impact of nurse shortages on hospital infection rates and patient care, the dehumanisation of nursing, the importance of ongoing education, rural nursing issues and the risks of deregulating the nursing workforce were among the issues covered creatively, sensitively and, at times, humorously.

The star of this year’s festival was – The Lamp! Yes, your favourite magazine was featured in every single film (ok, it was part of the requirements, but we’re thrilled that you love to read it!).

Proudly sponsored by First State Super, the NSWNA Short Film Festival was judged by series producer for Channel 7 and previous producer of RPA Patrick McInerney, Managing Director of Shannon’s Way Michael Daddo, and NIDA film director Clinton Smith. The evening was hosted by NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes, with awards presented by Sydney Morning Herald film critic Paul Byrnes.

Brett congratulated the filmmakers and encouraged nurses to participate in next year’s festival. ‘There are lots of challenges ahead and we look forward to your entries next year,’ he said.

The winners
First prize: Escape from the Café of Healthy Salvation
Susan Ling Young, RN at McKesson Asia-Pacific, took out the gong for her film about a waitress/nurse angel who succeeds in helping a customer escape the ‘revolving door’ of the Café of Healthy Salvation.

Working from McKesson’s Lane Cove office, Susan liaised with her colleagues, some of whom work from home, to make the film. ‘What I’m trying to get across is nursing can be many different things nowadays,’ she told The Lamp. ‘My film is about what we’re trying to do with

McKesson in the disease management team – it’s trying to help patients with chronic diseases to minimise the progression of the disease when they are well and help them stay well and reduce their hospital stays. This is a win for everyone: Nurses get more balance in their lives and more beds become available – it’s about trying to break the revolving door of what happens with people with chronic diseases.’
Susan won a $5,000 first prize.

Second prize: Robo Nurse 2
Last year’s winner Frances Usherwood from Sydney Children’s Hospital was runner-up with Robo Nurse 2. The futuristic sci-fi thriller is set in 2024 in a dystopian society where the Facist Benevolent Neo-Conservative party has moved to replace all working Australians with robots. All union activity is now illegal and small bands of freedom fighters – including renegade nurses – struggle to survive.
Frances won a $2,000 second prize.

Third prize 1: Baby Nurse
What do you do when you’re a student nurse and the RN in charge is a bitch? ‘Bring her some lollies’ is EEN Ariel Moon’s strategy. In a candid interview, shot by her mother Robyn Moon, an RN at Royal North Shore Hospital, Ariel talks about her experiences with staff in the delivery suite in Baby Nurse.

Robyn was thrilled to take out joint third prize of $1000. ‘I’m absolutely ecstatic,’ she said. ‘It’s lovely to be able to give something back to the profession. The NSWNA has supported me well over the years. I’ve been an RN for 33 years, and with a daughter coming through nursing, I really wanted to explore what it was like when I started and how difficult it is for them now, so she was the perfect vehicle.’

Third prize 2: The Gift
In what was considered by some in the audience to be the most confronting and moving film of the night, Carolyn Guichard’s The Gift documents the process of childbirth, showing the parents and midwives just before, during and after the birth.

The couple featured in the film are Carolyn’s son and daughter-in law.

Although Carolyn is not a midwife – she’s a Clinical Nurse Educator at Coffs Harbour Community Health – she was eager to ensure midwifery was a part of the festival. ‘I’m in awe of the work they do,’ she said.

Carolyn’s other entry Bop Till You Drop was also a finalist and next year she plans to submit two more films.