Speech by Ambassador Bill Tweddell
Premiere of the film Hello Forever
QCinema International Film Festival 2014
11 November 2014
It is a personal and professional joy for me to be involved in the premiere of Hello Forever here at the QCinema International Film Festival.
Without giving too much away, Hello Forever tells the story of four courageous women faced with some harsh realities pervading society, leading to human trafficking and prostitution. They embark together on a journey to find a way out. Together with 52 Tuesdays, an Australian film that follows a family as they go through the mother’s transitioning of gender within the space of a year, Australian participation in QCinema encompasses issues on women and gender.
With film being a very powerful medium for advocacy, the Australian Embassy welcomes the opportunity to participate in QCinema with these very powerful films.
Australian films – much like Philippine cinema – have successfully competed in the international marketplace for decades, winning top honours in many prestigious film festivals for their talented actors, directors, and technicians. Many international films have also become a testament to the advanced production and post-production facilities offered in Australia, which, together with a highly-educated workforce, have attracted many international productions (such as Moulin Rouge, The Matrix Revolutions and the Star Wars series). Indeed, Australia has become one of the most competitive filmmaking centres in the world, and we share with the Philippines a belief in the power that this medium has in changing lives and breaking barriers.
Hello Forever, in fact brings together a talented team of both Filipino and Australian film-makers and artists, some of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting tonight.
Films such as Hello Forever and 52 Tuesdays contribute significantly to breaking barriers, not just to women’s participation in society and decision-making, but towards developing a true culture of inclusivity and understanding, the elimination of discrimination and violence against women, and the empowerment of women and girls.
We would like to thank Hello Forever director Peter Kirk – who is unable to be here through no fault of his own - and the organisation ECPAT Philippines (End Child Prostitution Child Pornography & Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) for the opportunity to contribute to people’s understanding of the difficult situations that some of our fellow citizens face. If you would like to know more or contribute to efforts toward helping women and children, please visit the ECPAT website at www.ecpatphilippines.org.
Thank you very much and Mabuhay!