Younger people can learn a lot from older Australians if they just listen, according to Victorian secondary school student, Caleb Hounihan.
Caleb, a Hawthorn Secondary College student, has been awarded a first prize of $2,000 for his moving film ‘Changi – The Story of Ron Gibson’, as part of the Victorian Seniors Festival’s Be Inspired! Intergenerational Conversations film event on Sunday.
The film depicts Mr Gibson’s personal experiences of being a prisoner of war in Changi Prison during World War Two.
Caleb is from one of three Victorian secondary schools which were yesterday awarded prizes for depicting how an older person inspires them through short film.
The students’ short films were judged by Triple M presenter Mick Molloy, ABC 774’s movie guru Rhett Bartlett and national chief executive of Leading Age Service Australia, Gerard Mansour.
Caleb says he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of getting to know Mr Gibson and telling his inspirational story through film.
“I met Mr Gibson nearly two years ago through a program run at my school. I decided to use his story for the film because it touched me and everyone who has heard it. It is a story people should hear. Not just about Mr Gibson, but about all POWs,” Caleb says.
He admits he didn’t know a lot about the war before meeting Mr Gibson, so the project allowed him to learn and understand more about what Mr Gibson and so many other older Australians experienced during that time.
“To hear what he and so many other men and women went through was horrific. They fought for our country so we can live how we do today, which inspires me,” he says.
Caleb adds he believes older and younger generations can gain a lot through the sharing of experiences, talking about the differences in their lives and the times they have lived through.
Second prize was awarded to Footscray Secondary College Year 7 students, Keanu Condon-Anderson, Mario Laughlin and Shaemus Corcoran, who will receive $1,000 for their school for their film ‘Insights from Ann’.
This film depicts Ann Holmes sharing her memories of time spent as a Private in the British Royal Artillery during WWII.
A third prize of $500 was won by Parade College students, Daniel Ivanov and Kristofer Missailidis. Undertaking the project through a community program with BlueCross, Kristofer and Daniel were inspired by 86-year-old Phil Snowden, who lost his wife when he 55 but has remained active and involved in the community despite suffering a stroke last year.
Competition judge, Mick Molloy, encourages the budding young filmmakers to keep following their passion and cultivate their relationships with older generations. “You never know where it will lead,” he says.
The competition and event is the brainchild of peak aged care body Leading Age Services Australia - Victoria (LASA Victoria) and nine leading Victorian aged and community care providers: Aged Care Services Group Australia, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, Annecto, Arcare, Baptcare, Benetas, Blue Cross Community and Residential Care, TLC Aged Care, and Villa Maria.
The Victorian Seniors Festival runs from October 7 – 14 and includes hundreds of free – or affordable – events and activities taking place across the state, including concerts, theatre, poetry and dance, sporting events, guided walks and seminars.
Victorian Seniors Card holders receive free metropolitan and regional public transport throughout the week.
Watch the three inspirational films by visiting the LASA Victoria website.