Hunter residents have the chance to see two of the first advance screenings of Novocastrian Craig Hamilton’s new documentary.
The Promise, a film about mental health and suicide awareness, is an adaptation of the former ABC radio broadcaster’s journey with bipolar disorder as outlined in his best-selling book Broken Open.
It’s intertwined with personal stories from prominent experts, advocates and sporting icons.
The local screenings – including a red-carpet affair at the Civic Theatre on 20 September as well as another at Events Cinema Kotara on 16 October – are the only two of 12 across Australia ahead of the full release in 2024.
Proceeds from the ticket sales will support the work of Lifeline centres in the region.
Mr Hamilton and filmmaker Jye Currie are also scheduled to host an audience Q&A session at Kotara.
The popular Hunter-based personality is on a mission to normalise conversations around mental illness; to make mental health as easy to discuss as common colds.
His dream of covering the Sydney Olympics ended before it began when he had a psychotic episode on a Newcastle train station on his way to the Games.
Instead, he ended up in a mental health facility with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
As the documentary unfolds, viewers witness Mr Hamilton’s struggles and triumphs in living with the condition.
“I wanted to share my story to rewrite the narrative surrounding mental health and suicide prevention,” he said.
“The Promise aims to inspire empathy, understanding and action, and foster prioritising mental wellbeing and support for people on their path to recovery.
“I hope it will ignite transformative conversations, give hope and create lasting change.
“I’m passionate about mental illness because I’ve survived it.
“And, speaking about it might save someone else’s life.”
Directed by Mr Currie, who runs the award-winning Green Frog Productions, the documentary is a first of its kind.
“I want the film to create a pioneering, timeless and transformative experience for viewers that challenges stigma, sparks conversations and empowers individuals,” he said.
“This isn’t just a piece of art; it is an instrument of change.
“We have captured authentic stories of people who have survived attempting suicide and those who lost loved ones to suicide.
“I understand the possible risk when making a film like this but, if I let risk stop me, Australia would still be waiting for a suicide prevention film.”
The Promise also features TV personality Jessica Rowe, mental health advocates Joe Williams and Bailey Seamer, world champion boxer Tim Tszyu, rugby league premiership-winning coach Wayne Bennett and Newcastle Knights legend Paul Harragon.
Lifeline community development manager Pat Calabria is grateful for the filmmakers’ support for Lifeline’s work in the community.
“As Australia’s leading suicide prevention organisation, Lifeline is here for the community 24/7 to create hope and assist people in crisis and reduce stigma around suicide,” he said.
“We welcome a film such as The Promise, which is about normalising conversations about mental wellbeing as well as suicide and its prevention.”
Tickets for the advance screening are available at greenfrogproductions.com.
If this story raises issues for you, contact Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14 or visit lifelinehunter.org.au for local Lifeline services and support.
Advance screenings of The Promise
- When: 20 September
- Where: Civic Theatre
- Time: 7pm
- When: 16 October
- Where: Events Cinemas Kotara
- Time: 7pm
For more entertainment stories:
- McKie Memorial Concert a Friday fundraiser for two big causes
- Motocross legend Robbie Maddison freestyling his way to Newy
- Beauty and the Beast star Alana Tranter from Maitland to Disney
Get all the latest Newcastle news, sport, real estate, entertainment, lifestyle and more delivered straight to your inbox with the Newcastle Weekly Daily Newsletter. Sign up here.