Short film shines light on end-of-life choice

Confronting scenes: The Decision asks viewers what they want to happen at the end of their own lives and stars Warwick Moss in the lead role.
Confronting scenes: The Decision asks viewers what they want to happen at the end of their own lives and stars Warwick Moss in the lead role.

If there’s one thing Adrian Tyson wants you to do after watching his short film, it’s talk to your family.

His movie, The Decision, is about planning for the end of life and making your desires known.

The Harrington Park filmmaker’s work has been selected for the prestigious St Kilda Film Festival – one of only two Australian festivals which can lead to Academy Award contention for short films.

Mr Tyson’s film was shot in and around Camden and Wollondilly, as well as Liverpool Hospital.

It follows a couple who have been married for 44 years and must make a heart-wrenching choice in the spur of the moment.

“The film was actually an idea from Professor Ken Hillman of the Intensive Care Unit at Liverpool Hospital, who co-wrote the film with me,” Mr Tyson said.

“Ken sees people who are in their late 70s, 80s and 90s in hospital every day, and not everyone wants to be there,” he said.

“Up to 70 per cent of the time, elderly people are in hospital against their wishes.

“This film shines a light on end-of-life and really gets people thinking about what they want to happen as they get older.”

This film gets people thinking about what they want to happen as they get older.

Director Adrian Tyson

Mr Tyson said The Decision encourages people to have a conversation with their elderly family members and work on creating a ‘living will’.

Such a document would detail one’s wishes if they fell seriously ill or had a heart attack, for example, and whether they wanted to spend their life kept alive by breathing tubes and wires or if they’d prefer to die peacefully.

“I want to be clear, this isn’t about euthanasia, that’s a different discussion,” Mr Tyson said.

“This is just about having that conversation and making your feelings known.

“Lots of older people feel they have lived full lives and don’t want to be hooked up to machines when they’re 95 years old.”

Mr Tyson’s film was shot at Mount Hunter, Cawdor and Picton in 2016 and starred prolific Aussie actor Warwick Moss (A Country Practice, Blue Murder) and actress Jacqy Phillips (The Babadook, Wolf Creek 2).

If the film wins at the St Kilda film festival, it has a shot of scoring an Oscar nomination. It previously screened – out of competition – at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

L-R  Professor Ken Hillman (Co writer & Exec Producer), Jacqy Phillips (Lead Actor), Adrian Tyson (Co-writer & Director), Bobbi Ballas (Exec producer), Bernard Ashby (Post production supervisor) & Jackie Powell (Editor).

L-R Professor Ken Hillman (Co writer & Exec Producer), Jacqy Phillips (Lead Actor), Adrian Tyson (Co-writer & Director), Bobbi Ballas (Exec producer), Bernard Ashby (Post production supervisor) & Jackie Powell (Editor).

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