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The Department

Directed by Sascha Ettinger Epstein, 2021 Australia 90 minutes
15+
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Sascha Ettinger Epstein’s (The Oasis; The Pink House, SFF winner 2017) compelling documentary delves into the lives of workers and families entwined within NSW’s child protection system.

The decision on how to best protect vulnerable children in our community is never straightforward. Cases involve domestic violence, addiction, poverty, intergenerational trauma and mental health. The path to resolution can be traumatic and drawn-out. Caseworkers and specialists juggle the wellbeing of the children with the rights and welfare of the parent. Ettinger Epstein’s observational yet intimate style, using never-before-seen footage from inside the system at work, gives voice to all the participants. The Department team, including editors Mathew Evans and Sally Fryer, and producers Ian Darling and Mary Macrae (The Final Quarter, SFF 2019) in association with Noble Savage Pictures, have crafted an astute and timely documentary.

Sascha Ettinger Epstein’s documentaries include Painting with Light in a Dark World (2003), The Oasis (2008), Destination Arnold (SFF 2016), The Pink House (SFF DAF winner 2017) and Life After the Oasis (SFF 2019).