St Helens filmmaker wins national prize for personal documentary on gender transition
The winners of the 2020 Into Film Awards have been announced as part of a virtual ceremony hosted by David Walliams for film education charity, Into Film, honouring the talent and hard work of young filmmakers and film enthusiasts from schools across the UK.
Among this year’s winners is Ben Hodge from St Helens who took the Best Documentary prize for his film, 1 Year.
Ben’s film sees him writing a letter to his younger self about the myriad of ways his life has improved in the last five years, and also charts his first year on testosterone as he transitions to becoming the person he truly is.
Ben is currently studying Media & Performance at the University of Salford and is an amateur filmmaker and theatre creator with a particular interest in stories regarding LGBTQ+ experiences.
He also has an interest in stand-up comedy, drawing on his experiences as an openly gay transgender man to make light of things that otherwise might not be discussed. This has taken him around the country, from Manchester all the way to the Edinburgh Fringe.
Ben said: “I can't believe that my film which started out as an idea for a Facebook post has made it this far!
"It's truly an honour. Something I think that is important to note is that no two LGBT+ experiences are the same. But I hope that by sharing my experiences, I can open some level of understanding and tolerance in my audience.”
1 Year has been screened across the globe, from a UNICEF talk about youth filmmaking and creating empathy in Kathmandu, Nepal to the Geelong Pride Film Festival in Australia and a LGBT+ History Month exhibition at the University of Salford.
Ben is currently making a film about his hometown of St Helens and how the closing of the mining industry affected the town and culture. He wants to screen the final product in a community cinema.
The Into Film Awards celebrate exceptional talent from children and young people aged 5–19 years old who have demonstrated impressive achievements in filmmaking and film reviewing, and were due to take place at a live event at Odeon Leicester Square.
Due to COVID-19 developments however, the live event that would have seen over 400 school children in attendance alongside stars of the film and TV industry, could not take place.
The other winning films covered an eclectic range of subjects and themes including the impact of plastic usage on ourocea ns, celebrating your heritage, Asperger’s syndrome, living without hearing, self-improvement, and many more.
The much-loved Into Film Awards highlight the power of film in young people’s education and cultural lives and are made possible with the support of sponsorship from the UK film industry and by the BFI through National Lottery funding.
For full details about the Into Film and the Into Film Awards visit: www.intofilm.org/Awards