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Kidney disease ends here.

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Why I want to make this film for my dad

06 January 2022

Last month we shared the news that former BBC producer Andrew Smith and his family were on a mission to make a thought-provoking film about organ donation, after his successful kidney transplant. Now Andrew’s daughter Camille, the film’s producer is centre stage. She shares her insights into life as part of a transplant family and their ongoing efforts to raise the funds to create an impactful and humorous film. 

Andrew Smith with wife, two daughters and two dogs
Andrew Smith (centre) and his family including daughter Camille (right).

Q. How did your dad’s kidney disease impact on family life? 

I think when something so unbelievable actually happens, it brings you closer. Closer to each other because you never think it will be you: your family going through this; your dad. So although we have endured what we used to believe was impossible, it brought us closer than we could have imagined.  

Q. What was it like when you discovered he needed a transplant? 

Very vividly I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe, and then feeling incredibly selfish instantly. Why should I be panicking? What right did I have? Andy (my dad) was the one going through this, not me. But honestly I couldn’t fully fill my chest for two weeks after I found out. Then when the reality and the logistics of what Andy needed began to settle over me, I began to wish and to pray. My relationship with God is selfish because I always turned to him, whenever Andy was in need. I remember being 11 in the hospital visiting Andy for the first time, wired up to every machine and standing in the corridor praying that he would be alright. I did the very same thing again, I prayed. Like before, God listened to me and granted my prayers, and it truly helped me though that period.  

Q. How do you feel about the donation that made your dad’s transplant possible? 

I’m just so grateful that my dad is still here. It is a miracle, wrapped in something incredibly heart breaking. How can you ever say thank you enough? What can I ever do to even come close to saying how grateful and thankful I am, that my dad got to stay. With us, with me.  It’s a beautiful thing. It’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and I think will always be.  

A shot from the trailer for the film, Donate.
A shot from the trailer for the film, DONATE.

Q. What was the first indication that your dad wanted to make a film inspired by his experiences?  

We were talking about filming and writing, I had been brave enough to show him part of one of my scripts. I then begged him and made me show me just a small portion of the DONATE script. After reading the first draft I knew he had to make it.  

Q. How did you come to be involved? What is your role with the film production process?  

It is my fault that we are making it! I convinced Andy he had to try, and that I would do anything to help. Andy then named me as a producer on the film, and what a true honour that was. My main job right now is getting the funding for this film, raising awareness for what we are trying to do and researching various avenues within the film industry that support independent productions. 

Q. What are you bringing to your role from your professional and personal experiences?  

I have always suffered with my mental health, with anxiety and depression, and there is a lot within the film that I related to. I felt some of my own anxieties are mirrored in the movie. Professionally my three years working for Giffords Circus, and doing just over 1,000 live shows, has developed my capabilities in production and what it takes to get the show on the road!  

Q. How is the crowdfunding going?  

The crowdfunding is going okay. But we need a lot more support! This is a non-profit project, we will receive no money once it’s made – if there is any revenue it will go to our chosen charities including Kidney Research UK – so it is worth donating to. The nature of the film will keep the conversation going about kidney disease long after the film has been made.  

Q. Any final words?  

If you would like to support DONATE please visit donatethemovie.com to donate now! We can’t do this without your support, and there are loads of wonderful opportunities to physically be a part of this film. Even if you don’t want that, every single person who makes a donation will have their name in the credits at the end of the movie. We need you, so please even if it’s just 10p every little will make a massive difference. Thank you!

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