An aspiring young film maker has been given a prestigious award for a documentary which aimed to abolish the stigma of mental health, following her own personal battle with mental illness.
Rebecca Feazelle, 23 from Caerphilly, wowed the judges at the Zoom Cymru Young Film Makers Awards to pick up the Best Documentary Award on the night. The short documentary, called Fragile Minds, which was created as part of her BTEC Level 3 in Creative Media Production (TV and Film) at Coleg y Cymoedd, explored Rebecca’s own struggle with mental health.
Initially part of a college assignment, Rebecca set out for her documentary to break down barriers regarding mental illness, sharing her own experiences throughout the film. This included an interview with a representative from Mind Cymru, which replicated the advice the young filmmaker has received herself from the mental health charity. The documentary also took a scientific angle, looking into the chemical processes in the brain which can cause panic attacks, something Rebecca has personally suffered with.
Recognising Rebecca’s filmmaking talents, Coleg y Cymoedd tutor Amanda Stafford was quick to encourage the learner to enter her film into the Zoom Cymru Awards. The awards recognise the best filmmaking talents of young people in Wales and are held as part of the wider Zoom International Youth Film Festival, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary. The festival included a mix of workshops and masterclasses by expert tutors and filmmakers passing on advice and their knowledge to aspiring young filmmakers.
Speaking after the award ceremony in Bridgend, Rebecca said: “It was an amazing experience from beginning to end. My main goal was to give those who don’t have a voice the opportunity to speak through me and to comfort those who are suffering in silence. The Zoom Cymru Awards have given my film a platform for more people to reach out to it. So many people have already told me how much it has helped them, which is the best feeling.”
The 23 year old has previously completed courses in hairdressing and childcare, but feels she has found her niche in filmmaking thanks to the Creative Media Production course at Coleg y Cymoedd. She continued: “I was so bad with technology before this course, and now I am using cameras and advanced editing software regularly. It’s opened up so many work experience opportunities for me too, which I hope will help me in the future.”
Zoom Cymru Young Film Makers Awards recognise the talented filmmakers from across Wales, honouring those in categories such as Best Direction, Best Performance and Best Animation.
Amanda Stafford, Rebecca’s tutor at Coleg y Cymoedd, also shared her delight after the ceremony: “We are enormously proud of Rebecca’s achievement. She had a story to tell and set about telling it with complete commitment. Her vision was clear from the start and it is fantastic that her work has been recognised in this way. She epitomises the type of hardworking learners here at Coleg y Cymoedd.”