The touching documentary film DYING TO LIVE reveals that more can be done in Australia to improve organ and tissue donor registration numbers, to prevent immense suffering for those awaiting organs, while other Australians inspire us with their compassionate, life-saving gift.
Deep beneath the complex world of organ and tissue transplantation are the heart-wrenching stories of real people awaiting life-saving organs in Australia.
Why must they wait for so long? Are changes in policy required – or shifts in perception? Or is it as simple as signing up and having the conversation with loved ones? Why do we avoid the topic of death? What does it take to support a desperate family member running out of time as they hope for a stranger’s generosity? How difficult is it to consider the death of a loved one as a chance at life for someone else? And how much love and understanding does it take to make the compassionate decision to register as a physical philanthropist?
Following the documentary screening an audience Q&A will be held with Peter ‘Woody’ Wood at 8:30pm.
PETER “WOODY” WOOD is awaiting his third kidney transplant as the film begins. Woody’s kidneys began to fail when he was just 11, and he received his first transplant at 21. Unfortunately, that transplant didn’t take (despite a year in hospital), so Woody was back on the waiting list until receiving a second transplant at 28. He had ten good years, but has been on dialysis since then. Woody’s arms bear the scars of his lengthy dependence on medical intervention. His only hope for survival is receiving a third, precious kidney… but can anyone get a once-in-a-lifetime chance three times?
Dying to Live is a feature-length documentary film about organ transplantation in Australia. Producer/Director Richard Todd is from Margaret River, Western Australia, and is known for award winning documentaries like Frackman and God Made Them Blind.
Producer Ben McNeill (The Standard of Perfection) is Brisbane-based and has a production accounting background, working on Hollywood blockbusters like Thor: Ragnarok, Pirates of the Caribbean, San Andreas and Unbroken. The Executive Producer is Walkley Award-winner, Janine Hosking, renowned for 35 Letters, My Khmer Heart, Mademoiselle and the Doctor, and I’m Not Dead Yet.
Dying to Live was produced by Aquarius Productions and Intrinsic Story. Our Impact Campaign, which seeks to use this film to help put an unprecedented surge in the number of Australians signing up on the official organ and tissue donor register – and to encourage families to have the difficult conversation, is generously supported by numerous philanthropists via GoodPitch.
RICHARD TODD – DIRECTOR / PRODUCER
Richard Todd, aka Toddy, director of WA’s Aquarius Productions, is attracted to stories that require a very close and personal relationship with a central character. As a director and cameraman he has a passion for being accepted into complex, difficult to film situations in the pursuit of revealing storylines “closer to the bone”. He is renowned as the cameraman, co-producer and director of the controversial, critically-acclaimed feature documentary Frackman, which was filmed in Australia’s coal seam gas fields over five years, and subsequently screened at over 200 cinemas throughout the nation. Frackman won Best Film and Best Environmental Film at the 2015 Byron Bay International Film Festival and was included on The Guardian’s 2015 list of Australia’s Top 10 Feature Films.
Aquarius Productions is based in Western Australia’s Margaret River region, and has collaborated with international TV companies and distributors including ABC, TBS, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Tokyo TV , Granada and France 3. The company has also co-produced in Australia, France and the U.S.
BEN MCNEILL – PRODUCER
Ben McNeill is the Managing Director of Brisbane-based production company Intrinsic Story, and has worked across feature films, mini-series, television projects, and interactive & documentary specials.
Ben served as a Production Executive for the Freshwater Pictures co-production feature Early Winter. With three-time Emmy award-winning producer Mark Lewis, Ben collaborated on the PBS animal series The Standard of Perfection, and again on the Sundance success Cane Toads: The Conquest with Participant Media and Discovery Studios.
Ben has worked as a Production Accountant on numerous drama projects, including Universal Pictures’ Angelina Jolie-directed biopic Unbroken, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Thor: Ragnarok, and the locally-produced NEST. With Richard Todd of Aquarius Productions, Ben produced Dying to Live and is currently developing an independent drama thriller as well as a theatrical doc on artificial intelligence.
JANINE HOSKING – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Janine Hosking’s career highlights include producing and directing the award-winning and high profile feature-length documentaries My Khmer Heart and Ganja Queen for HBO USA. My Khmer Heart was shortlisted for Academy Award nomination and won Best Documentary at the Hollywood Film Festival.
The controversial feature documentary Mademoiselle and the Doctor screened to critical acclaim at both Australian and international film festivals and screened on the Sundance Channel (US) and ABC TV.
In 1998 she won the prestigious Walkley Award for journalism for her story about a young burns victim. Her feature documentary 35 Letters won Best Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival in 2014 and was awarded Best Biography by the Australian Teachers of Media 2014.
She is currently working on a feature documentary supported by the Sundance Film Institute.
DR SARAH ROSSETTI – WRITER
Sole Screenwriter on Dying To Live, and the first Screenwriter on Frackman, Dr. Sarah Rossetti brings decades of credits in a wide variety of genres to the projects she writes. Sarah has won four AWGIES (Australian Writers’ Guild national awards), a Lotteries Commission Award for Film Excellence, a WA Premier’s Award and the IF Award for Best Emerging Australian Filmmaker. She has collaborated on all of Richard Todd’s films over the past twenty years in both writing and script editing capacities.
She writes commissioned TV drama and documentary programs/series, works as a script editor and assessor, and has lectured and tutored in Screenwriting at three WA Universities.
In 2009, Sarah completed her PhD in Media Studies (Murdoch University, WA). Currently, she is lecturing in Screenwriting at SAE Creative Media Institute in Byron Bay, NSW.
LAWRIE SILVESTRIN – PICTURE EDITOR
Lawrie has worked as a drama and documentary picture and sound editor and post production supervisor for more than thirty years. During that time he has been nominated for seven Australian Film Institute (now AACTA) Best Editing Awards and a Golden Reel Award – winning the 2014 and 2017 AACTA Awards for Best Editing in a Documentary, and AACTA and AFI Awards for Best Sound Editing.
Many of the films he has edited have gone on to win awards all over the world. His documentary credits include WHITELEY and Desert War, for which he won AACTA Awards for Best Editing; Desert War also won the ASE Ellie Award for Best Editing in a Doco Series and was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2014 AACTA Awards.
Felicity Blake is a documentarian, creative producer and impact producer (impact producers use films to convene audiences and communities, motivating them to take action on important issues). She established The Dove Media in 2007 and has since followed her professional interests to Iran, Libya, Egypt, Indonesia, UAE, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Bhutan and the United States, working primarily as a field producer and assistant director for international feature documentaries such as The Burning Season and My America.
A committed advocate for progressive social change, Felicity is a passionate impact storyteller and campaign producer. From 2016-18, she worked with Northern Pictures as Impact Producer (auspiced by GoodPitch2) for their award-winning feature documentary, WHITELEY.Felicity has moved on to other exciting and creative projects.
The team behind Dying to Live gratefully acknowledges our supporters and philanthropic donors:
SHARK ISLAND INSTITUTE
FINANCED WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE DOCUMENTARY AUSTRALIA FOUNDATION
SPECIAL THANKS to our Good Pitch² Australia Partners:
The Caledonia Foundation
Ian Darling AO and Min Darling
Will and Jane Vicars
The Vasudhara Foundation
Michael and Manuela Darling
Roslyn Packer AC
Thyne Reid Foundation
Darrell and Anna Wade
John Sevior and Rebecca Gorman
Ryan Cooper Family Foundation
The Yulgilbar Foundation
English Family Foundation
Rebel Penfold-Russell OAM
Morena Buffon and Santo Cilauro
Dr Sue Jacobs
Mim and Michael Bartlett
The Foundation for Young Australians
The George and Freda Castan Families Charitable Foundation
Penelope and Ian Ward-Ambler
. . . and the donors who chose to remain anonymous.