Australian short film shines light on childhood trauma in family separation

The messiness and heartbreak of divorce is a well-trod territory in film. See 2019’s Marriage Story as a recent example, which had the distinct honour of being critically acclaimed and a ubiquitous Twitter meme. Rarely however is the child of divorce the primary focus of the film; so often are the parents bickering around them to pay them much attention. As is the case in Tommy, a short-length feature film about the titular Tommy, whose parents are ensnared in a bitter custody battle, but where the focus is entirely on the oft neglected child…

Milk Bar Mag, February 12, 2020

Australian short film shines light on childhood trauma in family separation

Not-for-profit charity To Be Loved is thrilled to announce that its short film, Tommy has been officially selected for the Flickerfest International Film Festival. The prestigious festival showcases the very best in short films from Australia and around the world.

Tommy is among only 200 films selected from a pool of 3500 entries, these select films  are now eligible for the Academy® qualifying and BAFTA recognised competitions for 2020…

Third Sector, January 9, 2020

Parents ‘damage kids’ when separation
proceedings turn bitter

Bickering over everything from coathangers to lemon squeezers is just one of the ways that the mental health of children is being put at risk, family lawyers warn.

Family lawyer Darren Mort said parents need to step up and focus on their children rather than their own needs and feelings of dissatisfaction.

“They bicker over things that mean something to them but they tend to be household items that aren’t worth much, money wise,” Mr Mort said…

Herald Sun, December 6, 2020

Interview with Darren Mort

A big thank you to Darren Mort one of the Directors of To Be Loved, Co-Producer of Tommy who has also written a children’s book Tommy and Tiger Terry for taking the time to answer some questions.

What inspired you to write Tommy?

In my other life, I am Family Law Barrister. I continue to be concerned with the lack of a voice that children suffer in family law proceedings. Parents become embroiled in litigation and prioritise their own emotions often over their children.

I was inspired to produce TOMMY to send a clear message to parents that their warfare needs to cease and that they need to focus on the emotional, psychological and physical welfare of their children above all else.

TOMMY was based on a true custody battle where the child disassociated and saw blue kangaroos. It was the intense conflict in that case that pushed the child to his emotional boundaries. I think as parents or guardians we can do better and TOMMY is a real lesson for parents in terms of potential fallout in cases of bad and inappropriate behaviour…

The Movie Boards, 2020

Tommy & Tiger Terry (6/6)

Tommy is a kid like so many from separated households: he loves his Mum; he loves his Dad. On his wish list, he would like them to reconcile – but, that is not going to happen. Importantly, Tommy believes it’s all his fault. To address his feelings of conflict, Tommy has an imaginary friend, Tiger Terry, who relieves Tommy’s anxieties and confusion.

The Movie Boards, 2020

New app to support children involved in family separation, court, family violence

Children’s charity To Be Loved is working with partners including Melbourne University to develop the app.

To Be Loved director Darren Mort said he had noticed a lack of resources to assist children and give them a voice during the litigation process while working as a family law barrister and with the Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce.

Rochelle Kirkham, The Courier, February 1, 2020

New app plans to help loneliness in kids

A new app aims to help children caught in the middle of a bitter divorce to battle loneliness and isolation. Kids are often the forgotten party when parents split, and barrister Darren Mort says the app will help tackle the distress that many feel.

“The app will be developed to help children navigate the Family Court process,” Mr Mort said.

Jeff Whalley, Herald Sun, January 26 2020
Also appeared in:
Courier Mail, January 27 2020
Cairns Post, January 27 2020
Adelaide Advertiser, January 27, 2020
Hobart Mercury, January 27, 2020
The Daily Telegraph, JaNUARY 27, 2020

Doing it for the Kids

Barrister-turned-fimlmmaker Darren Mort has used his experience in law and the entertainment industry to create a powerful short fi lm that all family lawyers should see. Ahead of its Sydney premiere, he explains his motivation to AMY DALE…

LSJ, Issue 60, October 9 2019

Book helps kids cope

Children’s book for family separation. I wrote the book to give children a voice while navigating parental separation and divorce…

Leader, June 18, 2019

Australian short film shines light on childhood trauma in family separation

Not-for-profit charity To Be Loved is thrilled to announce that its short film, Tommy has been officially selected for the Flickerfest International Film Festival. The prestigious festival showcases the very best in short films from Australia and around the world…

Pearl Dy, Third Sector, January 9 2020

To Be Loved
Marcellin College, Foundation News

Last June Darren Mort launched his first book “Tommy & Tiger Terry” at Diesel Lounge in Lonsdale St to high acclaim. The book is a project of the charity To Be Loved and tells the story of a young boy with separated parents. It aims to promote the prevention of mental illness amongst children and young adults exposed to extreme physical, psychological or emotional distress as a result of family violence or family breakdown, separation or divorce.

Joy FM

Darren Mort talks to Sabina Read about the short film Tommy.

Tommy Teaser

Tommy is a kid like so many from separated households: he loves his Mum; he loves his Dad. On his wish list, he would like them to reconcile – but, that is not going to happen. Importantly, Tommy believes it’s all his fault. To address his feelings of conflict, Tommy has an imaginary friend, Tiger Terry, who relieves his anxieties and confusion.

Hot off the press TOMMY is currently doing the festival circuit.

Tommy and Tiger Terry
– Book Review

The book helping children navigate family violence
There are not many people who know the family court system as well as Darren Mort does. Darren has been working in the family court for almost 30 years. He has seen his fair share of children that have been effected by the family court and family separation, and with that in mind, has created the new book Tommy & Tiger Terry.

Tommy & Tiger Terry follows a boy currently in the throws of family separation. He has created an imaginary world, to escape the scary real world around him, and is comforted by his friend Tiger Terry. This book is being used to not just help children, but parents navigate the sometimes turbulant time that can happen after a family breakdown.

I was fortunate enough to attend the book launch of Tommy & Tiger Terry, held at the Diesel Bar in Melbourne, and nothing short of absolutely moving when hearing of how this book is helping children navigate the turbulent time after separation. Hearing Darren speak about the subject family separation and family violence, shows a deep passion for helping children in these situations, and it is truly wonderful to know that men like him are in our court system and doing their best work in the best interest of the child. Dean McWhirter, the Assistant Commissioner of the Family Violence Command at Victoria Police, seems to agree with me.
“What this book is telling us, is that unless we make an effort to recognise the impact of crime on children, we will never be able to help them or begin to respond to their needs.” He writes in a statement read at the book launch. “My view is that if we are going to change any of this, we have to be able to identify changes in behaviour. This book helps shed light on these behavioural changes.”

Following on from the book is the short film Tommy, a short film that again is seen from the eyes of a child. Family separation and the impact of it on the child, Tommy, is reflected in the ‘war epic’ theme and style of the film. The film is due to be released in late 2019. To Be Loved earlier short film production, Degree of Separation, also follows the narrative of family separation and family violence, and you can view the trailer here.

by Taneesha Davis (Weekend Notes)

The Breakfast Stable, 19
May 2019

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Eleanor Mckay, Advertiser Phillip Island and San Remo, 12 January 2019