Actress Jacqui Purvis of Home and Away is slated to post a film on YouTube that was inspired by a chat on mental health in honour of tomorrow’s R U OK? Day, which raises awareness of the significance of these discussions.
Voicemails Last Forever, which Purvis wrote, produced, and starred in, opens with two housemates trying to come to terms with the unexpected death of their best friend and boyfriend via suicide. Purvis, his girlfriend, is still grieving and trying to piece together what happened, while still listening to the voicemail greetings from her loved ones.
Brandon Keenan directed the movie, and Bradley Walsh and Adam Rowland completed the cast.
Purvis revealed to IF that the concept sprang from a chat he had with Walsh during the 2020 Melbourne lockdown.
She remarked, “He just opened up to me about what he was going through one day, and it really affected me.”
“I found it hard to believe my friend was experiencing this, and he expressed a strong desire to raise awareness about the fact that sometimes those who appear to be in pain or suffering are actually the ones hiding it so well that you would never know.”
Purvis would work on the story over the following year, emailing it to “as many people as possible” in hopes of receiving feedback.
Among them was Keenan, with whom she had studied at an acting lab in Melbourne. Despite being best recognised for his acting roles, he was persuaded to take on the director’s role after understanding Purvis’ vision for the film.
She remarked, “That connection is really rare.”
“I just knew from that point on because they see it exactly how you see it.”
With a cast and crew of twelve and $15,000 from AusCo, Voicemails Last Forever was filmed over two days at Purvis’ dad’s house in Melbourne in the middle of last year.
Her acting career took off after she was cast in the long-running soap opera Home and Away as Felicity Newman, the sister of local police officer Cash Newman. The writing process happened at the same time as this.
“I found myself in a truly amazing situation where I could utilise my platform to help raise awareness or promote [this issue],” Purvis said to IF.
“So everything just kind of works really well.”
Though Purvis had no formal affiliation with R U OK? Day, he believed that the effort would help dispel the stigma associated with mental health, particularly suicide ideation.
She stated, “Knowing how to handle those things is just as important for us as it is for the actual person who is experiencing those feelings.”
Fundamentally, I want individuals to reach out and make sure their friends and family have a location that is available to them.
Tomorrow is the release date for Voicemails Last Forever on YouTube.