One of the great pleasures of working with director/adventurer Paul Cox is that you experience things that most other people don’t. Paul had worked and befriended the leprosy patients on the Hawaiian Island of Molokia when he was making “Father Damien”. Years later, after we had made a number of films together and had failed dramatically to finance our next film we both mused that we “just wanted to make something without going through the bullshit”
. And we did - six weeks later, with the help of the Adelaide Film Festival and the South Australian Film Corporation, we stepped off a small plane on to the Kalaupapa Peninsula of Molokai. We had been invited to this closed community by the last remaining leprosy patients who’d been exiled to the island since they were children. With a small crew in tow we started recording their life stories in what became a feature length documentary honouring their existence. I feel immensely privileged to have met these people - people who have every right to feel bitter towards the world but who instead have found their own peace of heaven.
My only regret is that the film has not been seen widely. I’ll never completely understand why, but I do believe a little bit of prejudice and fear lurks in people hearts when you mention the word “leper”. See the film if you can and see how very wrong that is.
Kalaupapa_Heaven_Trailer SD_HQ_16x9_DISPLAY_NO_COUNTDOWN.mov from Mark Patterson on Vimeo.