ACT's first dementia-friendly screening event a success

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A dimly lit cinema with green seats, with a still from the movie The Sapphires on the screen.

On a rainy October day, a dementia-friendly film screening of the award-winning musical drama The Sapphires was held at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. 

The event was more than just a film screening.

It was a social occasion that included morning tea, a souvenir program, the opportunity to see one of the spectacular costumes from the film (worn by actress Deborah Mailman and on display in the theatre) and polaroid photo souvenirs of the occasion to take away.

The event incorporated dementia-friendly design principles, such as:

  • clear signage around the venue,
  • soft lighting in the cinema to assist people wanting to move around during the film,
  • a 15-minute interval during the screening for morning tea and fresh air, and
  • a second smaller room where people could go if they wanted a break or to have a quiet chat while the film was still playing.

Venue and event staff received training from Dementia Australia, welcomed guests and were available to answer questions and provide assistance. 

The event was created by film scholars Dr Jodi Brooks (University of NSW), Dr Fincina Hopgood (University of New England) and Karina Libbey (National Film and Sound Archive of Australia), and was developed in consultation with the community and stakeholders over several months. 

Recognising the significance of movies in people’s lives, the project team were motivated to create this event to support those living with dementia to have “a life more ordinary”.

This first screening is part of a larger research project that draws on the British Film Institute’s Dementia Friendly Screenings Guidelines to develop dementia-friendly screening resources that are tailored to the Australian context.  

The event was made possible through the support of the University of NSW, University of New England, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Carers ACT, and with funding support from the ACT Government.

For more information about the project contact:

Dr Jodi Brooks j.brooks@unsw.edu.au
Dr Fincina Hopgood fhopgood@une.edu.au
Karina Libbey karina.libbey@nfsa.gov.au

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