Sixth Form students from Ysgol Aberconwy have had the opportunity to direct and star in their own professionally filmed LGBTQ+ film. A group of 15 students spent two days working with a professional film crew, as a result of coming first in the Iris prize script writing competition selected from schools across Wales. The short film will premiere in January 2020 at Cineworld, Llandudno Junction.
The students, who are all studying media and film related courses, attended an Education Day in January 2019 where they learned about the Iris Prize script writing competition. Working in collaboration over a number of months, they came up with a script called ‘Our Souls’. It is an ‘Educating Essex’ style documentary/drama centring around one of the students in the group and the shocking ways in which homophobia has affected him.
Student Freddie Triggs who plays the central character said, “I decided to audition for Ryan as I thought the role would be quite challenging and it’s different to anything I’ve ever done before. Playing the role was fun but more importantly it gave me an understanding of the difficulties and also the hostility that the LBGTQ+ community may face and how it feels to be on the receiving end of bullying.”
Student Joshua Baxter said, “I play the film’s antagonist, who is initially homophobic and derogatory towards Ryan, but then becomes more aware and accepting of people’s sexual orientation. I hope that when people see the film they understand the message and realise that being prejudiced and bullying people is not OK and learn, like Ben, to become more accepting and tolerant of others.”
Iris Education/Outreach is a project funded by Ffilm Cymru Wales which allows the Iris team to work with students from schools across Wales to tackle homophobic bullying and other LGBTQ+ issues.
Teachers Mrs Jenny Ohlsson and Miss Amy Grimward said, “We’re so proud to have such talented students to work with. It's been such a fun experience and we feel lucky to be a part of it. We’re really excited about the premiere, albeit a little nervous about seeing ourselves projected on a massive cinema screen! Keira Knightly – watch out!”
We are proud to announce that four of the original 10 script writers, Ryan Mackale, Anna-Lyssa Roberts, Faye Thomas and Caitlin Hughes, have successfully gone on to university studying media, film and fashion related degrees. The remaining students originally involved in the project, continued on with the monumental task of planning, casting, directing, staging, rehearsing and then producing the film itself.
Student Kieran Roberts, who plays his namesake in the film, said, “It’s opened many doors to me in the future, by doing this I’ve met great people and it has been a real opportunity. I feel like this could be the start of something great.”
Hollie Owen agreed saying, “I have been involved with ‘Our Souls’ from the beginning. It’s been a great opportunity for us, as a whole group, and has allowed us to get an insight to the hard work needed to create a film. I'm very grateful for the whole experience.”
'Our Souls’ will premier in January at Cineworld, Llandudno Junction and will be entered into another Iris Prize competition that could see them win a £250 prize to make further films. In addition to this, Ysgol Aberconwy will welcome the Iris Outreach film crew back to the school in January as we host the Iris Outreach Education Day 2020, welcoming students from other schools to join us in workshops and to network with industry professionals. Mark Williams, Iris Outreach and Education Manager said, “We’ve had an amazing couple of days filming. We are very impressed with the pupils, their patience and how hard they have worked. I can’t wait to see the finished film in January.”
Ysgol Aberconwy proudly invites you to come and see the film and show your support for the LGBTQ+ community and our fantastic students, past and present. It will premiere on the 22nd January 2020 at Cineworld, Llandudno Junction, alongside other competition entries. Free entry for friends and family of Ysgol Aberconwy students.