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Stories of good lives on film

For the second time South Australian care provider ACH Group is screening ‘Good Lives on Film', an insightful view of personal good life stories from people in their 60s, 70s and beyond.
Sofie with Aunty Martha Watts, Arabuna Elder, camping with Sofie on her mothers land at Finnis Springs near Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre) when the traditional name of the lake was recognised officially.
Sofie with Aunty Martha Watts, Arabuna Elder, camping with Sofie on her mothers land at Finnis Springs near Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre) when the traditional name of the lake was recognised officially.

The short films are directed by amateur filmmakers, sharing their vision of what it means to live a good life as you age.

Sofie Gregory has been waiting her whole life to tell her story. Now, thanks to ACH Group Good Lives on Film, she will.

‘Good Lives on Film’ was first screened in February 2015 with seven filmmakers showing their vision of what it means to have a good life as you get older.

The films were produced by members of The Exchange: a supportive ACH community where seniors can share or acquire new knowledge and skills in an inclusive, informal and friendly atmosphere.

Ms Gregory enlisted in the ACH Group Good Lives on film #2 project and began to unravel her story, which will now be shown on the big screen.

She has volunteered with many organisations since high school and holds the Gold Award from the Duke of Edinburgh and the Life Saving Society Award of Merit.  

Ms Gregory now works as a personal trainer for large women and people with disabilities, she has started a number of self-help and peer support groups, and is co-founder of ‘Identity Rites’ - an adoption advocacy and support group.  

“I was adopted at birth and learnt very quickly it wasn’t something you talked about. But as I got older the loss I experienced at birth got harder and harder to bear. I wanted to tell my story,” Ms Gregory explains.

“It was both emotional and uplifting,” she says. “I had lost four friends in a row and realised the grief I felt at losing them was compounded by the loss of my mother at birth. It was good to get it all out.”

Ms Gregory teamed up with other amateur filmmakers and together they produced the film, doing everything from interviewing and cameras, to sound and lighting.

“It was a well designed course, set at a pace we could all work to. I’m good with technology, but not as good as an 18-year old! It was a really supportive group and we all helped each other.”

Ms Gregory is thrilled with the end result of her work and says she has already been approached by grief and loss therapy groups who want to use her film.

“It took me 65 years to tell my story, but it was worth it.”

The ‘Good Lives on Film’ were produced to form part of the resource kit for The Exchange, to support older people and their peers to live good lives. Open to people aged 55+, The Exchange promotes opportunities for people to explore, learn, and share knowledge on a range of topics.

Good Lives on Film #2 premiered this week. For more information contact Fiona Telford-Sharp on (08) 159 3425, or email Ftelford-sharp@ach.org.au.

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