Cate Blanchett launches Oasis: Homeless Short Film Competition

06 April, 2011 by IF

Press release from the Caledonia Foundation

THE OASIS: Homeless Short Film Competition, a national competition with $25,000 prize money for secondary schools students to raise awareness about homelessness in our community, was launched today by the Competition’s Patron Cate Blanchett.


The incidence of youth homelessness has doubled in Australia over the last 20 years with 32,000 young people under 25 defined as homeless (including children under 12, this number increases to around 44,500 source: ABS census 2006).

THE OASIS: Homeless Short Film Competition is part of an extensive education and outreach program which is central to a five-year philanthropic initiative tackling the growing incidence of youth homelessness in Australia.

The OASIS initiative was launched in 2008 with the premiere of the AFI award-winning documentary THE OASIS on ABC Television and the release of a major report into youth homelessness in Australia, The National Youth Commission Report on Youth Homelessness, commissioned by The Caledonia Foundation.

An audience of more than 1.1 million watched the broadcast of THE OASIS documentary on ABC Television, with another 800,000 staying tuned in for the following forum on youth homelessness with Tony Jones. More than 2000 people participated in the accompanying on-line forum and a DVD of the film including Study Guide was donated to every secondary school in Australia. An extensive web resource was also created.

“More than two years after the initial broadcast, we continue to measure the enduring impact of THE OASIS documentary. Supported by a comprehensive education and outreach campaign and with on-going community screenings, the film has helped ensure that youth homelessness remains on the national agenda,” said producer and co-director Ian Darling, from Shark Island Productions.

"THE OASIS demonstrates the latent power of documentary film to deliver a high return on social capital. Attributable impacts of the film's wide distribution and awareness were immediate, for example in the two months after its initial screening in 2008, the Salvation Army Red Shield Door Knock Appeal showed an increase in donations up 10.5%. Furthermore, $1.3m in new donations were made directly to The Oasis Youth Support Network and a commitment by the Federal Government to halve homelessness by 2020 and provide an additional $1.2b over four years. These positive financial outcomes are on-going, year after year."

Students who enter THE OASIS: Homeless Short Film Competition will be encouraged to make a film about any aspects of homelessness from their perspective, to raise awareness, highlight positive stories, inspire action locally and nationally, and support existing services.

Also announced today was THE OASIS Schools Curriculum Resource, which, along with THE OASIS: Homeless Short Film Competition and is an integral part of the of The OASIS project’s focus on outreach and education.

Ms Blanchett, renowned actor and co-artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company, said: “The arts, including film and theatre, have an exceptional capacity to tell stories that raise awareness about important social issues and create change in our community. THE OASIS: Homeless Short Film Competition is important because it actively engages school students in understanding and highlighting the issues of youth homelessness, encouraging them to focus on young people less fortunate than themselves.”

Ms Blanchett said that 15 finalists of THE OASIS: Homeless Short Film Competition will be screened by the Sydney Theatre Company later this year, where THE OASIS documentary had its premiere screening in 2008.

Oasis Schools Liaison Officer, Bee Orsini, who experienced homelessness as a young girl, has also been appointed and will travel extensively around NSW meeting with secondary schools and promoting the resource.

Ian Darling, who also Chairs The Caledonia Foundation said: “Since The OASIS initiative was launched, The Caledonia Foundation has been focussed on continuing to raise awareness of homelessness through school curriculum programs to support teachers and involve young people in preventing and solving youth homelessness. And, increasingly more students are inspired to raise funds, volunteer and engage their local community in the effort to address youth homelessness.

“Youth homelessness will not disappear easily. Our aim is to provide young people in our schools with both the inspiration and the tools to change the world around them for the better now and as they continue into adult life.”

Also speaking at today’s launch of THE OASIS: Homeless Short Film Competition and THE OASIS: Schools Curriculum Resource was Mr Peter Garrett, Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Major Paul Moulds, Director of Mission and Resources – Social, The Salvation Army Australian Eastern Territory and Bee Orsini, Oasis Schools Liaison.

Entries in THE OASIS: Homeless Short Film Competition close on September 16, with winners to be announced in November 2011. $25,000 in prizes will be awarded to the winning schools.

For further details about THE OASIS: Homeless Short Film Competition and THE OASIS Schools Curriculum Resource – Youth Homelessness Matters, go to: