Some Happy Day – a film inspired by our St Kilda community

13 September 2021
Photo of two actors from the film 'Some Happy Day'

A new film is premiering in festivals around the world, and it takes place in the heart of our St Kilda community.

“Some Happy Day is a sensitive, gritty portrayal of the shadows we all carry and the courage it takes to find our way through.”

– Tim Costello

Over a single day, the lives of a woman experiencing homelessness and a social worker interweave, revealing unsettling connections that lead to change and redemption.

The writer and director, Catherine Hill, is also a social worker with a deep connection to Sacred Heart Mission. In fact, a few of the scenes in the movie were filmed in our St Kilda op shop and our Engagement Hub laundry facility. We spoke with Catherine about the film and how her work at Sacred Heart Mission helped inspire her to share this story with the world.

Can you tell us about your connection to Sacred Heart Mission?

I moved into a flat in Fitzroy Street in the early nineties, right next door to a rooming house. I started chatting with my neighbours from the rooming house and they told me about the Mission. I approached the Mission asking whether it would be possible to interview some of the people accessing the Dining Hall in the hope that I might be able to write a play.

I never wrote that play but I worked as a volunteer for over a decade. Later, after I’d been working for the Salvation Army Crisis Centre for many years, I was invited to join the Sacred Heart Mission team. I jumped at the opportunity and returned to work across multiple programs, doing contract and casual work. I love the culture of the Mission and their commitment to making real change.

What inspired you to make this film?

I have worked for over two decades with marginalised and often homeless men and women. As a case worker you listen knowing their experience of trauma will be a constant backstory. And you are blown away by their resilience and strength.

I wanted to tell the story of Tina, a homeless woman desperately trying to make a better life, which is something we all want.

I wanted to contextualise her story, articulate her struggle and show how the right support from the right person at the right time can change everything.

The Tina’s of the world inspired me to make this film.

What do you hope viewers learn from this film, what message do you want them to walk away with?

We all know about homelessness. We are confronted by it every day and we need to humanise it. When we empathise we connect deeply, we invest – and this is why stories are so powerful.

I want Some Happy Day, through the story of Tina, to humanise the affected communities. And in doing this, provoke conversation and action that works towards addressing the issues of homelessness.

Those actions can be small; a change of attitude as you walk past someone sitting on the street, a conversation with a friend, donating to a service. Or they can be life changing; studying social work, volunteering, becoming an advocate, an educator, a politician. We can make change but it requires action. I want Some Happy Day to excite people to take action now.

How important are organisations like Sacred Heart Mission to the community, especially here in St Kilda?

Sacred Heart Mission is a trailblazer. The Mission is committed to trauma-informed practice and has an open door policy that welcomes everyone.

As a case manager I have seen the difference that the Mission makes. It has provided opportunity, hope and housing to so many.

Sacred Heart Mission respects the community it serves and honours the dignity of every human being.