Some of the inspirational movies which feature in the Hope at Home festival.
Some of the inspirational movies which feature in the Hope at Home festival.

FREE TICKETS: Film festival reaches out to virus victims

A HOME-GROWN film festival born out of the coronavirus crisis is reaching out to Australia's newly unemployed in a bid to offer hope and encouragement.

Sunshine Coast-based Heritage Films, which has been operating in Australia for almost 16 years, believes in the power of good stories to lift a nation.

Earlier this year, Hoyts cinemas reached out to the company to curate a film festival. It was to be launched in cinemas across the nation in April.

But then the virus lockdowns hit and the Coast-based company had to pivot very quickly.

The idea for the online film festival came from personal experience.

CEO of Heritage Films, Rod Hopping, returned from a work trip to the US in early March. He started feeling ill soon after getting home with flu-like symptoms.

Rod knew he needed to get tested for Covid-19, especially knowing that he had visited an office in Los Angeles that had since been shut down because of the virus.

Feeling quite unwell he headed to the local hospital testing centre and sat in the waiting room.

Many people walked through the doors while he was there, all asking to be tested.

He said most had a look of fear in their eyes, especially when the majority of them were told they didn't qualify.

Rod did qualify and off he went for his test - thankfully two days later he received a call to say he didn't have the virus.

Sitting in that waiting room and then lying in bed with the flu for the next few days, Rod knew that Heritage needed to do something different and quickly.

And so in rapid time and to the credit of the amazing team at Heritage Films, The Hope at Home Film Festival has been launched.

The festival, which kicked off earlier this month, is running for ten weeks and costs just $29.99. With 12 movies on offer that's about $2.50 a movie. The normal price for the festival is about $60.

Each Sunday during the festival, a new film will drop into festival pass holders' libraries, and then in the days following, a number of festival events (including Q&As with the filmmakers, panels, workshops, in-conversations and more) will livestream, creating an engaged, event-oriented festival experience.

For those joining later in the month, they will have access to previous movies.

To get the message out even further, Heritage will be giving away 1000 free passes to people who are unemployed or who have their jobs to the current crisis.

One of the highlights so far has been a live chat with Korn guitarist Brian 'Head' Welch. Brian's movie LOUD KRAZY LOVE is a part of the festival, and deals with addiction, loneliness, fear and belonging.

Other films in the line-up include Hacksaw Ridge, Beautifully Broken, the story of shark attack victim Bethany Hamilton, Unstoppable, and the inspirational tale of the "world's ugliest woman", Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Velasquez, who fought back from the bullies.

More information on the film line-up here

The 1000 free passes will be made accessible through a 'nomination.' This means that people who know someone who is doing it tough are encouraged to give their friend the festival as a gift (by nominating them). The person they nominate will immediately receive a free pass in their email account.

You can nominate someone needing some inspiration here.

More information on the festival here