New Australian film on farming life and mental health

Just a Farmer” is an extraordinary independent Australian film about an all too common occurrence on farms – suicide. The filmmakers have built a strong media profile over the last few months, emphasising the significance of a psychosocial work-related condition. But the film is much more than a film about mental health

Note: this article mentions suicide

There are two possible approaches to this film – a story about the realities of farm life and a depiction of mental ill-health. That both these overlapping approaches are satisfied by this film is a mark of a successful story and production.

The movie opens in over 100 Australian cinema screens on March 21, 2024.

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Expand “Safety Differently” to “Work Differently”

Occupational health and safety is as much at risk of hypocrisy as any other business element. Perhaps moreso as it is full of trite cliches. Many people find it easier to identify hypocrisy when it is shown by others and Australian media company SBS provided an example recently.

According to an article in The Age newspaper on June 26, 2002 (not yet available online, image below), SBS had commissioned an independent production company, Fell Swoop Pictures, to produce a series about the exploitation of food delivery gig workers. This is a legitimate topic for depiction, especially after five food delivery workers were killed in Australia recently over a short period of time. The income levels of this type of worker have been a feature of many of the concerns raised by trade unions and others, and that has been highlighted in several formal inquiries into the industry sector.

Sadly Fell Swoop Pictures promoted the opportunity to be an Extra in a series about exploitation without the Extras being paid!!

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Caution. Misery (and Enlightenment) Ahead.

Having been born in the north of England, I enjoy watching movies and TV shows from there, even though I need subtitles sometimes. As a child watching Ken Loach’s film Kes for school, I thought that I could easily have been that kid standing in a cold muddy soccer pitch on an estate not far from our commission house. (I have been told our previous house was demolished because it was in a block of slums) So Loach’s latest film sounded interesting and given that it depicted life in the precarious and “gig” economy, I recently joined the hundreds in the audience at the Melbourne International Film Festival to watch “Sorry We Missed You”.

I really enjoyed the film but found the story very upsetting. It’s taken me almost a week to starting writing this article and the trailer still makes me cry, so I am split on whether to recommend you see the film.

Continue reading “Caution. Misery (and Enlightenment) Ahead.”

Two new workplace health and safety feature films

Every year the Melbourne International Film Festival seems to include a couple of new films related to workplace health and safety issues. This year’s festival opens in August 2019.

One film about slavery in the South East Asia fishing industry is Buoyancy, an Australian film having its world premier in Melbourne.

Another is the Ken Loach film “Sorry We Missed You” which provides an intense and personal look at what it means to be working in precarious jobs and the gig economy.

Kevin Jones

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