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Screening of Back Home Again supports mental health services

Film about 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire is a 'conversation starter', says Burlington-based executive producer

It turns out you can go home again.

Burlington resident Charmaine Hammond, executive producer of Back Home Again, will be on hand for a screening of the award-winning animated film and a panel discussion on mental health next week.

The event, presented by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce at the Sheridan Conference Centre, takes place on March 22.  

Hammond, a Sheridan College alumna, grew up in Burlington and recently returned to live here. She will be on the panel that follows the screening, along with director Michael Mankowski and Dr. Ian Dawe, a psychiatrist in the Mental Health Program at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga.

“Back Home Again was created to be a conversation starter about mental health, at a time when our communities and workplaces are navigating mental health issues resulting from the pandemic,” says Hammond. "This project is near and dear to my heart."

Hammond left Burlington after graduating from Sheridan College and worked in the correctional system in Halton before moving to Fort McMurray where she lived for 16 years.

"I had the opportunity to work with the community on the resilience and recovery efforts following the 2016 wildfires,” she says.

The film, written and directed by Mankowsi, has travelled the country’s film festival circuit and had a seven-day theatrical release in Los Angeles. It was Inspired by community resiliency after one of the largest wildfire evacuations in Canadian history which impacted the lives of more than 80,000residents of Fort McMurray and area in 2016. 

The story is told through the eyes of the woodland creatures that inhabit the land of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo and features an all-star voice cast who donated their time to the production. Characters are voiced by Jeremy Renner, Martin Short, Kim Basinger, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Michael J. Fox, Howie Mandel, Ed Asner, Lorne Cardinal, Gordon Pinsent, Mena Suvari, Bill Burr, Tom Green, Norm Macdonald, Harland Williams, Sherri Shepherd, Marlon Wayans, Scott Thompson and Tantoo Cardinal.

The film is being showcased to help build mental health awareness and spark conversations in communities across Canada and around the world.

The event takes place March 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for Oavkille Chamber of Commerce members and $40 for non-members and can be purchased through the chamber's website. Proceeds from ticket sales support the Canadian Mental Health Association-Halton.

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