Mark Coles Smith’s Keeping Hope Premieres on NITV and SBS On Demand in September

PRESS RELEASE

The Kimberley region in Australia’s far northwest has one of the highest suicide rates in the country[1], with the vast majority being young Indigenous men[2].

Mark Coles Smith (Mystery Road: Origin, The Clearing, Savage River), a proud Nyikina man and actor who grew up in the Kimberley, returns to interrogate these alarming suicide statistics and meet remarkable people making a real difference in its prevention in Keeping Hope – a special one-hour documentary premiering Sunday 10 September at 8.40pm on NITV and SBS On Demand, on World Suicide Prevention Day.

This is a subject close to Mark’s heart – his best friend tragically took his own life when they were in their 20s. Keeping Hope follows his intensely personal search for answers and, hopefully, solutions.

On his journey, Mark travels across the Kimberley to some of the areas experiencing the highest suicide rates and speaks with professionals, community leaders and his own family to explore what’s being done in communities, and what is still needed. He also faces up to his own loss and questions how others can learn from it.

Mark Coles Smith said: “People who die young are frozen in time. With those who take their own lives, it’s difficult to properly celebrate their lives because when talking about them, feelings of guilt and remorse inevitably arise. They become statistics and painful memories.

“Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced the impacts of suicide in some way. Keeping Hope will ignite timely and critical conversations about suicide in Australia and what we want to change in the future.”

Marissa McDowell, a proud Wiradyuri woman and Head of Commissions at NITV, said: “A huge thank you to Mark Coles Smith for sharing his intimate and deeply personal experience with suicide, with a view to help others. Thisvital documentary explores community-led programs that are working in the Kimberley. We encourage all Australians to watch and learn from Keeping Hope, and we are grateful for the support of the production team, Joined Up Films, Screen Australia, Screenwest and Lotterywest in shedding light on this ongoing epidemic, with an optimistic future outlook.“

Alex West, Screen Australia’s Head of Documentary said: “Audiences should tune in and watch Keeping Hope as Mark Coles Smith takes viewers on a moving journey, courageously confronting the devastating impact of suicide in Indigenous communities. Through his personal experience and insightful conversations, this documentary not only raises awareness about an urgent issue but also offers hope by showcasing community-led initiatives and the resilience of those working towards change. Keeping Hope invites viewers to be part of a dialogue that can inspire understanding, empathy, and ultimately, meaningful action.”

Devina McPherson, Screenwest Indigenous Executive said: “Screenwest is proud to support Keeping Hope – an important and vital story for all Australians. We’re grateful to Mark Coles Smith, Director Tyson Mowarin and the producers for creating a beautiful documentary with hope and optimism, about such a heartbreaking and devastating reality affecting so many of us, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Congratulations to the entire team for their courage.”

Keeping Hope is a Joined Up Films production for NITV. Principal production investment from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest. 

Watch Keeping Hope on Sunday 10 September at 8.40pm on NITV and on SBS on Wednesday September 13 at 8.30pm. Keeping Hope will also be available to stream for free on SBS On Demand, with captions available in English and subtitles in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok using #KeepingHope #NITV  

Press Release

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