Six Months to Salvation, a documentary made entirely by Australian university students to screen at The Lido.
The film looks at the ethical impact of ‘voluntourism’ – the act of foreigners, mostly Western, going to another country to travel, as well as volunteer.
The project was produced independently by u16.co, a collective of Sydney filmmakers all still in university, and has gone on to tour colleges throughout the US, including Harvard and Cornell.
Six Months follows seven high-school graduates from Sydney who travel to Northern Thailand to teach English to children of the local Karen Hill Tribe. Over six months, they contend with their inexperience as teachers, and the colonial implications of their work.
According to the filmmakers, the film asks the question of who really benefits from these ever-growing volunteer missions, the cost and their actual worthiness.
The documentary was made by Lorenzo Benitez (director), James Holloway (producer, editor) and Jonathon Parker (producer, editor).
Benitez, who is a Filipino-born first-generation Australian, brought a unique perspective to the film.
“We’re really excited to bring Six Months to Salvation home,” Jonathon Parker said.
“We spent at least three months editing it in a cramped spare room back in 2015, so it’s taken a while for the film to make it to the big screen in Australia. But I’ve found that all who watch it find something that both affirms and challenges the perspective they had going in, so it’s been worth the wait.”
The collective was started when the three filmmakers, all high school friends, got together and formed u16.co in 2015.
Six Months to Salvation will be released in Melbourne at Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn, playing Sunday July 22nd at 2pm and Monday July 23rd at 7pm.
The filmmakers will be present for Q&As after both screenings.