Eighteen-year-old Holly Ash has just returned from Brussels where she represented UK at the Young European Film Forum 2015, where young people from across the continent gather to explore cultural diversity. The 18-year-old media learner, from Nantgarw, has just completed the Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production (TV & Film) at the Coleg y Cymoedd, Nantgarw campus and was delighted when the two-year cycle of the Forum fell at the right time for her to apply.
She travelled to Brussels for the 12-day event, where she joined sixty, like-minded participants aged between 18-25 years. Each contributor had a keen interest in documentary making and embraced the opportunity to develop their skills.
The Forum, now in its tenth year, welcomes young filmmakers from eleven European countries and is a hotbed of cultural exchange and personal development. During the programme, the participants were accompanied by professional filmmakers and editors to work on their documentary movies, including all of the preparatory stages, the production itself and post-production editing and modifying.
To date, Holly has gained a wealth of experience in the film industry, having volunteered her time in numerous different placements. Sheâ€™s especially proud of the work that she produced on the prestigious Documentary Academy Wales Network (DAWN) course in Aberystwyth, run by the BFI Film Academy, in addition to being a runner on one of Walesâ€™s favourite television series, â€˜Stellaâ€™. Her involvement with Zoom Cymru, a Film Forum for young people based in south Wales, has been instrumental in guiding Holly on her chosen career path and she enthusiastically praises their work with students.
Holly found academic study in school challenging, especially at the end of year 11, but always knew that she had so much more to give. She therefore attended an open event at the college and enrolled on a Level 2 Art & Design course before finding her feet and setting her sights on a career in media. She thrived on the assignments and with the support of the staff gained distinctions, which allowed her to progress on to the Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production (TV & Film), where again she secured triple distinctions; no mean feat given that Holly is dyslexic. In September Holly will begin the next part of her career path when she moves to London to study at Royal Holloway.
Holly said, â€œI am so excited but itâ€™s been such a hard slog! My experiences in Brussels were superb because I met so many lovely people and learnt so much but it all stems from the effort that I was prepared to put into it from the start â€“ there was some serious sweat and blood going into these assignments! This latest course helped me to understand how to get over new challenges like working with people who didnâ€™t speak English â€“ it can be very tough at times but itâ€™s completely been worth it. Iâ€™m now looking forward to studying at Royal Holloway, University of London and canâ€™t thank the staff at Coleg y Cymoedd enough for all the support and encouragement that I have received during my time here.â€
Course tutor Amanda Stafford added, â€œI was delighted when Holly was selected to attend the YEFF, I knew that she would get so much from the programme. She is very ambitious and hardworking and puts 100% in everything she does. She deserves her place at Royal Holloway â€“ I know she will do well and sheâ€™s certainly one to watch!â€
Rhondda Cynon Taff