Kym Melzer: Filming the families of people with PTSD

There are many news and current affairs stories in the media now about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), stories that focus on the victims. Kym Melzer’s documentary films are made from a different and unique perspective – the families of those affected. Since we last reported on her work in GCCAR’s July Bulletin (The Ripple Effect of PTSD: A Preliminary Research Impact Story) she has continued to build her audience and supporters.

One of Kym’s Ripple Effect films featuring veterans, with James and Kirsty Greenshields, was selected to be shown in the 2016 Veterans Film Festival held at the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra. Foxtel offered to broadcast this film on their Aurora channel in November, giving Kym a valuable broadcast credit. Another of her films in this series was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Los Angeles CineFest (USA).

Following the Film Festival, the Australian War Memorial expressed interest in the film and will archive all seven films in The Ripple Effect of PTSD: Veterans series and arrange for their screening there, following Kym’s agreement to donate the film to the AWM.

The Returned Services League (RSL) have become key sponsors for veterans’ films in The Ripple Effect project. They provided catering at the initial screening of the films, attended by 70 people, at Griffith Film School in July. Following their enthusiastic and emotional acceptance by an audience which included participants, the RSL agreed to pay Kym a licence fee to enable the films to be shown to their members in Queensland.

Kym’s next step is to find sponsorship or funding support to make another related documentary series – The Ripple Effect of PTSD: TRIPLE ZERO – a three part series exploring the impact of PTSD on the families of first responders: police, ambulance and emergency services personnel. She is following a path to her PhD as an ‘impact producer’, a filmmaker who produces films by building an audience and sponsorship base in stages. So far, it’s working for Kym, her audience and her supporters.