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Development   /  Charlotte Seymour

Send In The Clowns

Clown Doctors help sick kids get better and sometimes they help them die easier. They need to be tough. And funny.


Impact areas




  • DIRECTOR Wain Fimeri

  • PRODUCER Charlotte Seymour



Send In The Clowns is an intimate look into the lives of the people who work as Clown Doctors and Elder Clowns, and the people they care for.

We meet Doctors and Nurses and healthcare professionals. They were all skeptics once, now they ask Clown Doctors to attend special procedures, anything likely to be painful and protracted because they know a Clown Doctor helps.

For kids with chronic illness, the Clowns make hospital a brighter place. For kids who frequently come to hospital for ongoing treatment, hospital becomes less scary.

Hospitals with Clown Doctors report they use less painkillers, that healing times are faster, difficult procedures are easier. Elder Clowns prove that laughter is the best medicine in aged care facilities, with nursing homes reporting an increase in happiness and health of their residents.

Our program is a blend of strong narratives of intensely emotional stories and personal journeys about illness, and pain, tears, and about celebrating the end of life.

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0% funded
  • $200,000.00

  • $0.00

  • January 2019

  • 0

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

“Plenty of studies have shown that laughter can combat many common ills. For instance, research suggests that humour may lower blood pressure and release endorphins. Laughter is also proven to improve circulation, stimulate the nervous system, heighten the immune system and make the heart stronger.” The late Dr Peter Spitzer, Medical Director & Co-founder, The Humour Foundation.

The Humour Foundation delivers a unique community program - Clowns from all walks of life who work in our medical and aged care facilities. These are not clowns that you find at the circus or a birthday party, these talented individuals shepherd all kinds of people, young & old through their darkest hours. The Elder Clowns program was the subject of a world first NH&MRC funded research project that indicated Elder Clowns reduced agitation symptoms for residents with dementia by the same level as antipsychotic behaviour management medication.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

This film will bring heightened awareness of The Humour Foundation, further their fundraising opportunities to expand their work and reach, and trigger opportunities for additional care facilities to bring this profound humanitarian service to more people.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Within our social impact strategy we will be exploring the below main impact goals:
Encouraging the greater public to be open-minded to alternative therapists rather than just standard medical practice
Encouraging viewers to donate, share and support The Humour Foundation
Encouraging more people to show interest in becoming a Clown Doctor which will enable the Humour Foundation to find the right candidates
Encouraging health ministers to consider future funding for organisations such as The Humour Foundation


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We have a letter of intent from Compass at ABC TV to screen this film in 2020 which will be the first major domestic premiere of the project. Beyond Compass we will be engaging a domestic distributor for further opportunities such as an online platform and in-flight entertainment. As there are Clown Doctor programs all over the world, we also intent to engage an international distributor.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Director Wain Fimeri has an ongoing relationship with The Humour Foundation, who will ensure access to hospitals and aged care facilities. They have never granted access before, and have only granted this access to writer/director Wain Fimeri.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Primary Action - Contribute to The Humour Foundation
A recent study conducted by Social Ventures Australia shows that for every $1 invested into The Humour Foundation Clown Doctors program, there’s a $4.20 social return to the community. Our goal is for viewers to be moved to donate and to double the donations the Humour Foundation through the impact strategy we will put in place.

Secondary Action - Further Clown Doctors
This film will prompt more people to apply to train as a clown doctor, increasing the opportunity for impact.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Securing significant funding for The Humour Foundation to continue to do their work. An increase in the number of clown doctors to fill the growing need in hospitals and aged care facilities.
This film will assist in raising the profile of The Humour Foundation.