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The Unlikely Pilgrims


Mon 10 Jun 2013, 7:00pm–11:00pm

Where: Event Cinemas, 505–525 George Street, Sydney CBD, New South Wales

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $15.00
  • Additional fees may apply


Listed by: admin69

Screen Australia, Happenstance Films and the Sydney Film Festival presents The Unlikely Pilgrim: Nothing Heals Like a Little Distance. World premiere screening at Sydney Film Festival.

Direction: John Cherry and Kirsten Mallyon
Screenwriter: Kirsten Mallyon Producer & DOP John Cherry
Editor: Jane Usher Executive Producers: David Jowsey & Charlie Hill-Smith
Co-Writer: David Tiley
Composer: Mik la Vage

Nine years in the making, The Unlikely Pilgrims by filmmaking partners John Cherry and Kirsten Mallyon has its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival on June 10 as an official selection in the Foxtel Australian Documentary Prize competition. This revelatory film is a documentary psychodrama, set along a beautiful medieval pilgrimage route - The Camino de Santiago, or Camino Frances, an ancient walk, spanning 800km across Northern Spain.

It is the story of four unusual pilgrims. Ronan is a drug and alcohol counsellor at a rehabilitation centre in NSW, Australia. With a strong sense of the philosophy behind his craft, he believes deeply that “the rescuing element in counselling can do a lot of damage, can kill people in actual fact.”

Ronan is also a great believer in the healing power of long-distance walking and has completed the Camino five times already. He offers the opportunity to share a Camino pilgrimage with Amy, Chris and Dave, who have just completed their rehabilitation program. It is agreed that in Spain, Ronan will not act as their counsellor. The repercussions of this decision are huge.

“We had no idea really of what the story would come beyond the belief there would be inner and outer journeys both. The intricacies of theme that grew were of course about addiction and mental health, but also of the challenge of leaving others free. Ronan’s deeply held philosophy is that help can do more harm than good when it degrades the search for autonomy. A fascinating assertion, and one that can be applied to all areas of life - parenting, friendship, any relationship really. And where is the balance? Are we too concerned with being the rescuer?”
Kirsten Mallyon and John Cherry, Directors

The Unlikely Pilgrims is a triumphant tale about what can be accomplished if one has the courage to confront one’s own physical, spiritual and emotional limits. The world premiere screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and some of the film’s participants.