With just days to go before the premiere of "How We Survive," excitement is building for the raw and honest documentary about the journey of founder of Al's Skate Co, Al Taylor and colleague Shannon Dale and their mission to promote mental health through skateboarding.
The premiere, scheduled for Saturday, 20 May, at 6pm, is set to be a momentous occasion. The film has been a labour of love for Al and Shannon, who have poured their hearts and souls into sharing their personal stories and the reasons behind their work.
For Al, the decision to share his struggles with depression and anxiety was a natural one. "Talking has always helped me," he explains. "And as a male, it opens the door for other men to open up about their mental health when they see someone else share their struggles."
The documentary was born out of a collaboration with filmmaker friends, and the time seemed right to spread their message more broadly. However, the process was challenging. Al and Shannon had to confront difficult memories and experiences, and the documentary required a level of vulnerability that was sometimes uncomfortable.
But despite the obstacles, the bond between Al and Shannon has only grown stronger. "Our friendship and our shared passion for mental health and the community has only deepened," Shannon explains.
Through their work with Al's Skate Co and its mental health program, Drop In and Take Off, they hope to break down mental health stigma and encourage others to seek support. "I want people to know that trauma isn't a life sentence," Shannon says. "You can't control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond."
For Al, the premiere of "How We Survive" is about reaching more people with their message. "I want people to know that there is always someone to talk to, and that we are not alone," he says. "If this documentary prompts someone to reach out, open up or seek support, it is all worthwhile."
As the premiere approaches, the anticipation is palpable. With the powerful stories of Al and Shannon at its core, "How We Survive" promises to be a film that will touch the hearts and minds of all who see it.
Tickets are $25; all proceeds go towards raising funds for headspace Albury Wodonga and Drop in and Take Off incorporated.
Head to www.alsskateco.com.au for more information.