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Production   /  Lachlan Ross

The Southpaw Project

When injury prevents Blake Dean’s return to the Big Bash League, he reinvents his game as an “ambidextrous” cricketer.

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Impact areas

HEALTH & WELLBEING

YOUTH & EDUCATION

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Lachlan Ross

  • PRODUCER Lachlan Ross

Synopsis

DURATION: 60 MINUTES

When any athlete’s “big break” comes, it’s a career defining moment. Pressure mounts as self expectations rise. In 2014, Canberra cricketer Blake Dean received a last-minute call up to the Sydney Thunder for his debut Big Bash League match. But leaving the SCG that evening, his mental health plummeted after failing to perform when it counted.

A year later, when trialling for a BBL return, Dean was dealt another blow, tearing his right rotator cuff - meaning the all-rounder could no longer bat or bowl without undergoing a shoulder reconstruction. With a young family and mortgage to pay, Blake declined the expensive surgery and took on a less traditional route to return.

Re-teaching himself to play left-handed and starting in Canberra’s Second Grade competition, The Southpaw Project follows Blake’s five-year pursuit to be the first true "ambidextrous cricketer" to play in the Big Bash League - batting, bowling and fielding left and right-handed. Following a path less travelled, Blake tries to prove to himself he can perform at an elite level, while changing the game he loves.

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  • $85,000.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $0.00

    FUNDS RAISED
  • September 2021

    PROJECT ENDS
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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

This documentary tackles the impact of mental health in professional sport through the lens of former Big Bash League cricketer, Blake Dean. Through creativity, incredible skill, and resilience, Blake quashes the criticisms, and overcomes his fear of failure to impact how the next generation of players take on the game.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

My vision is to normalise and hero the broadcasting and media coverage of men’s mental health in sport and inspire people to discuss their own mental health without fear of stigma.

Outcomes

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

- To continue the conversation of men’s mental health
- To continue the conversation of mental health in sport
- To inspire kids to dream big and embrace their creativity
- To inspire all viewers to persevere through setbacks and pursue their personal and professional goals

Activities

How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Through unprecedented access to Blake Dean’s five year journey, the audience will be subject to the pressures of professional sport, hear Blake’s comprehensive and raw retelling of his struggles with mental health, and gain insight into the power of Blake’s creativity helping to evolve his sport. A range of in-depth interviews with professional cricketers, family, teammates, and Blake will be paired with game footage tracking Blake’s progress over his five year journey.

Stakeholders

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

Working with Cricket ACT, Cricket NSW, and Cricket Australia to gain access to match footage, they have also provided insight into their communities and the content they engage with. It is clear the topic of changing and adapting a game with so much history is a continued point of contention - and one their audiences all share great pleasure in consuming and discussing.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

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

- To feel encouraged to discuss their own mental health
- To encourage creativity when problem solving or overcoming personal obstacles
- To discuss solutions around removing the stigma of mental health for men’s sport
- To discuss solutions around removing the stigma of mental health in sport
- To create more content about mental health in sport

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

- An increased awareness of men’s mental health in sport
- An increased production of documentaries which tackle mental health in sport