A Place to Call Home

The project

This documentary  tells the story of a social housing program, the experience of people living with mental illness and the positive impacts of housing security, the role of community including creativity and meals on wellbeing.tells the remarkable story of one man’s journey to change the way we look at an deal with mental illness. After singing and performing on stage in London to signing up with a record label whose clients included Prince and Michael Jackson, Alan’s life was transformed by a powerful experience in a Los Angeles church. Giving up a wild life of parties, drinking and performing, Al returned to Australia to work in a 500 bed homeless men’s shelter in Kings Cross and later from one small house in Queens Park, Perth, managed to create a community of 15 houses for over 60 adults who live with mental illness.

Emmaus Community is something quite unique – possibly the only one of its kind in Australia. Mental health professionals have spoken about how Emmaus is able to reduce hospitalisation and dependency on the mental health system. Residents who live at Emmaus speak about how it’s changed their lives.

The documentary first broadcast on ABC and iView in April this year and had a complete audience figure of 518,000 – making it one of ABC Compass’s highest rating episodes of the season in 2020. It screens again on ABC Compass on Sunday 22nd November at 11 am and then streaming on ABC iView until 22nd December.

The brief

After meeting Al Archer and visiting Emmaus Community in 2014, Lara was inspired to turn his story into a film as a way of highlighting mental health and homelessness – two social issues which governments around Australia are struggling to adequately deal with. In 2017, filming commenced. The documentary premiered on the ABC on Sunday 19th April and is now available for streaming on iView – reaching a national audience.

The team

Director/Producer: Lara Damiani
Editor: David Banbury
Sound Design
: Carlos Manrique Clavijo
Online/Colourist: Danny Phillips
Photography and videography: Claudio Raschella
Cinematographer: Pete Gleeson
Location Sound: Glenn Martin, Steve Trowbridge, Lara Damiani