The Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) has launched a powerful new campaign specifically addressing ‘ambiguous loss’, a unique form of grief suffered by the more than a quarter of a million Australians who make up the family and friends of long-term missing people.
The campaign, created by whiteGREY in collaboration with production company Finch, is entitled ‘Missed Birthdays’. Comprising two short films, it features the families and friends of two long-term missing individuals - Sydney man Paul Rushworth and Hobart-based, Naz Samson Woldemicheal - as they send Paul and Naz birthday messages, on the day of their birthday.
Directed by Kyra Bartley, the films have been released online, supported by social and 30 second TVCs.Created in partnership with Finch, Bang Bang, Atticus and Level Two Music, they aim to remind the community that the search for missing people is ongoing, while at the same time provide an insight into the emotional toll of living with ambiguous loss.
Joe Hill and Garret Fitzgerald, Joint Executive Creative Directors, whiteGREY Melbourne said: “Through Missed Birthdays, we hope people will better understand what it’s like for the loved ones of a missing person and be moved to help MPAN provide the specialised support they need. We can’t thank our production partners enough for donating their time and talents to make Missed Birthdays possible.”
The first Missed Birthdays film launched on November 4 and features Peter Harris, the partner of Paul Rushworth, who went missing over six years ago. The second, launching today (Nov 11), features the family and friends of Naz Samson Woldemicheal who was last seen in Hobart over three years ago. Naz turns 23 today.
Loren O’Keeffe, Founder and CEO of MPAN said: “There are thousands of Australians experiencing what Paul and Naz’s families and friends are going through, yet not enough professionals trained to provide the right support.
“The purpose of Missed Birthdays is to educate the public on the fact that while we do as much as we can for the missing loved one, we also need to remember the families and friends are also in great need of support. Unlike traditional bereavement, where the loss is clear, ambiguous loss does not get easier over time. It gets harder. Families don’t get the rituals and customs associated with standard grief such as a funeral, burial or a grave to visit. It’s a continual loss, so it requires ongoing support”.
Through a call for donations, MPAN is hoping to train a new generation of ambiguous loss specialists to provide this support. For more information or to make a donation, visit: missedbirthdays.com.au
Missed Birthdays – Naz Woldemicheal
Missed Birthdays – Paul Rushworth
National Managing Director: Katie Firth
Executive Creative Directors: Joe Hill and Garret Fitzgerald
Creatives: Ben Mann and Nic Molyneux
Head of Strategy: Nathan Rogers
Designer: Gemma Lodi
Senior Account Director: Amy Ross
TV Producer: Tuesday Picken
Digital Producer: Mylene Czorny
Production Company: FINCH
Executive Producer / Managing Director: Corey Esse
Producer: AnnaTara Clark-Sneddon
Director: Kyra Bartley
Director of Photography: Katie Milwright
1st AC: Grant Wilson
2nd AC: Orla Hughes
Sound Recordist: Steve Foy
Sound Recordist: James Heartly
Runner: Maddie Wilko
Camera Equipment: Panavision Australia
Post Production: ATTICUS
Executive Producer: Amelia Bromley
Offline Editor: Delaney Murphy
Colourist: Alina Bermingham
Online Artist: Alina Bermingham
Sound Production: Bang Bang Studios
Sound Designer – Sam Hopgood
Sound Producer – Holli Dee & Polly McGregor
MUSIC Supervision: Level Two Music
Music Supervision: Level Two Music
Music (Paul Rushworth): Strata by Moby courtesy of mobygratis.com
Music (Naz Woldemicheal): Music by Electric Dreams
About the Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) Website: www.mpan.com.au
Missing Persons Advocacy Network (MPAN) was established in 2013 by Loren O’Keeffe, whose brother Dan went missing in July 2011. MPAN creates awareness for missing Australians and offers practical support to their loved ones left behind.
“Research shows that when one person goes missing, 12 people are directly affected – financially, emotionally, and psychologically.” Ms O’Keeffe said. With over 100 Australians reported missing a day, this means that about a quarter of a million Australians are impacted each year.
Building on the success of the charity’s ongoing The Unmissables initiative, which features the stories of missing individuals on biodegradable coffee cups, Ms O’Keeffe is passionate about educating the public on the impact of ambiguous loss, and how important it is for vulnerable individuals to reach out for help.
About Ambiguous loss
Ambiguous loss is described by health professionals as a unique type of loss that lacks clarification or closure. It is a particularly common occurrence in those who have missing loved ones but can also affect others, such as those impacted by dementia, and other unclear forms of loss.