Shake’n It Up With A Powerful Ad For Parkinson’s Disease

Shake’n It Up With A Powerful Ad For Parkinson’s Disease
Mel Z
By Mel Z

The ad focuses on the prevalence of Young Onset Parkinson’s (YOP) with real-life Parkinson’s disease patient Nikki Blackwood as the main face and voice of the ad.

Nikki, who is now 36 years old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 35.

YOP is a description given to people diagnosed under the age of 50.

With 100,000 people in Australia living with Parkinson’s and 20 per cent under 50, there are around 20,000 people diagnosed with YOP.

Fussy Films Ben Kumanovski said: “We wanted to break away from the popular belief that Parkinson’s is only an older person’s disease”.

The ad, which was filmed in a rustic warehouse set at Marrickville’s Sydney Props Studios, uses Rembrandt style lighting and an originally composed poignant piano score to evoke mood and emotion as the camera slowly reveals the owner of the soft, Scottish accent while she tells her personal story.

Kumanovski explains how a lot of thought went into the production design: “The atmosphere we’ve created conveys a larger part of the story.

“For example, the deteriorating warehouse is a symbol of the effect the neuro-disease is having on the nervous system, while the emptiness of the space represents the isolation many patients feel as they juggle their daily lives around what they can no longer physically do, and the perception outsiders have of them”.

But the ad doesn’t stop there.

After hearing Nikki’s story of struggle with the disease, viewers are then introduced to four other people also affected by Parkinson’s as a voiceover calls the audience to action.

Kumanovski explained: “We also wanted to debunk the stereotype that it was mainly men who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, hence the range of women in the ad”.

Fussy Films produced the project pro-bono for the not-for-profit organisation as part of the production company’s plan to diversify their portfolio of work.

Kumanovski approached Shake It Up Australia Foundation in late 2018 after learning that every dollar that is donated to the organisation goes directly into Parkinson’s disease research with administration costs being paid for by the founding directors.

Kumanovski said: “I liked that the organisation put 100 per cent of funds raised back into Parkinson’s research.

“Parkinson’s is more common than most people think”.

He added: “Many of our crew who volunteered to be a part of the project had a relative or knew someone who is affected by the disease.

“I think knowing that the foundation puts 100 per cent of the funds they raise into research was a major motivator for so many professional and talented people to give up their time to work on this film”.

The ad will screen nationally throughout April via CSA airspace across free-to-air channels, outdoor media and radio (for which Fussy also produced a radio version of the ad).


Brand: Shake It Up Foundation Australia

Client: Vicki Miller

Production Company: Fussy Films

Producer/Director: Ben Kumanovski

DOP: Drew Bontoft

1AC: Ken Butti

Gaffer: Storm Ashwood

Best Boy: Aaron Ashwood

Grip: Richard Hoskins

Hair and Makeup Artist: Georgie Fox

Art Director: Melissa Kumanovski

Location Sound Recordist: Luke Stacey

Editor/Colourist: Ben Kumanovski

Music Composer: Paul Zulli

Post Production Sound: John Hresc

Male Voiceover by Abes Audio

Filmed at Sydney Props Studios

Conceptualised, written and produced by Ben Kumanovski for Shake It Up Australia Foundation.

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