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Educator goes on journey to discover if she has incurable disease

Would you want to find out if you had the gene for a disease that has no cure? This is the dilemma SAE film lecturer, Renée Brack found herself in, after losing her father to Alzheimer’s. Renée’s self discovery documentary, Ticketyboo, is a stark view of how society views the elderly living with dementia.
Educator disease film

The film, which Renée wrote, directed, and co-produced with lauded producers Kristen
Hodges and Kristina Foster​ has received four film laurels to date including official selection at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, Ukrainian Dream Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, and the winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Druk International Film Festival.

Following the 2018 Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the SAE Sydney film lecturer spoke to experts, including CEO of Dementia Australia, Maree McCabe; geriatrician, Peter Gonski; Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, who is working on an Alzheimer’s vaccine, as well as activists and people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Honouring her father

As Renée looked to honour her father’s legacy with a posthumous exhibition of his art, she weighed up the life altering decision to find out if she may develop the disease that killed him.

“The way I handled my father’s diagnosis was a textbook example of what not to do. I’ll carry the guilt about that for the rest of my life, but making this documentary helped me find a way to forgive myself,” Renée admitted.

Renée Brack

Dementia Australia states that 487,500 people are living with the disease, with almost 1.6 million people involved in their care in this country. However there is a greater number of people who are not recorded, Renée said.

“More than 75 per cent of dementia cases globally are undiagnosed, I hope Ticketyboo can shed some light and foster some understanding of what is such a misunderstood condition.”

The film’s origins

The film’s title originates from Renée’s father’s off-handed response when he was asked how he was doing. His secrecy about his condition was driven by shame and denial, something Renée hopes her documentary can play a part in overcoming for others.

“If we don’t talk about this, people will make the same mistakes I made. There may not be a cure for Alzheimer’s but there are things we can do, and they start with honesty and openness.”

Renée Brack
Educating the future

At SAE Sydney, Renée mentors the filmmakers of tomorrow and gives them guidance on how to develop as creative practitioners.

“I always encourage my students to make impactful content that could change the world and add to our understanding of it,” she said.

“I hope Ticketyboo provides even a small source of inspiration for my students and filmmakers out there who have stories close to home, they wish to share.”

SAE General Manager, Dr Luke McMillan praised Renée for her documentary and the subject matter it explores.

“Renée is a talented filmmaker and educator and we’re extremely proud of what she has achieved with Ticketyboo. Alhzeizmer’s disease will impact a great many in our society and it’s something that we need to have open and honest conversations about,” Dr McMillan said.

“The bravery of Renée’s documentary will undoubtedly cause a wider discourse on this important subject.”

Film students working on a set with blue backdrops

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