Staffordshire University flies the flag at LGBT film festival

"I wanted to make a film about something close to my heart. My friend Isaac is transitioning from female to male and I wanted people to understand what it is like."

Chelsie Yates, BA (Hons) Film, Television and Radio

Staffordshire University is flying the flag for the LGBT community at a Shropshire film festival this weekend.

The Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival takes place from 5 to 7 October and will screen films from across the world at the Old Market Hall.

BA (Hons) Film, Television and Radio student Chelsie Yates is one of only nine filmmakers selected to show their work in the short film programme.

She said: “It was really overwhelming when I found out that my film had been picked for the festival. I had to tell everyone!

“To think that this is only the second film I've made is crazy. Being on the course has made me realise that I can achieve a lot more than I thought.”

Chosen from more than 200 entries Polaroid People was made during Chelsie's first year on her degree. The two-minute film explores the challenges that arise for a young Muslim trans boy trying to embrace his true identity without losing his family and religion.

Inspired by a close friend, who plays himself, Chelsie shot the film with a course mate and her brother in her hometown of Northampton.

“I wanted to make a film about something close to my heart. My friend Isaac is transitioning from female to male and I wanted people to understand what it is like.” Chelsie explained.

“Because he is Muslim it focuses on the religious aspect as well. It is an extremely hard thing for people to go through. Isaac's mother rejected him and he lost a lot of friends.”

Chelsie has just started her second year at Staffordshire University and will attend the screening of her film on Saturday with her mum and her auntie who is also transgender.

She added: “The festival will be a good way to network with people in the industry and will hopefully lead to me working on more films. It's a great opportunity.”

BA (Hons) Media Film Production student Beth Stokes was also chosen to screen her short film Candy, a documentary about drag Queen Candy Fierce which promotes a message of self-love and body positivity.

A registered charity, the festival relies on donations and is organised by volunteers including Staffordshire University film lecturers Rachel Smith and Amy Hill.

This year, Staffordshire University is supporting the film Alaska Is A Drag and Matt Sadler, Associate Dean and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Champion, will introduce the film.

He said: “At Staffordshire University we pride ourselves on our ethos of equality, diversity and inclusion. We are committed to supporting our curious and daring staff and students in creative projects that helps raise awareness and challenge negative perceptions of minority groups, such as the LGBTQ+ communities.

“We are very excited about these productions and I am looking forward to attending the festival to support the students and staff involved.”

The Festival takes place from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 October. Find more information and the full programme here -http://www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk/2018-film-festival-programme/

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