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Congratulations to Greta McMillan, aged 18, from Portobello High School in Edinburgh, whose film Change Direction - a quietly impassioned call-to-action in the face of climate change apathy - has won our special 'Changes for a Better World' category at the 2022 Into Film Awards. The award was presented by actors and Into Film Ambassadors Eddie Redmayne and Jack Lowden.
Made when she was 17 years old through the use of an eyegaze communicator, Greta's film is a remarkable achievement that carries an important message for us all - not least of all those in positions of power, who have the ability to effect significant change in the fight to protect our planet.
The climate emergency is such a huge global issue, I wanted to somehow say something as a young person who will need to deal with this as an adult... It really makes me mad.Greta (Aged 18) - Into Film Award Winning Filmmaker of 'Change Direction'
Utilising her namesake Greta Thunburg's famous 'our house is on fire' speech, Greta's film is both intimately personal and globally relevant, as she explains.
"Change Direction is about climate change and the social responsibility each of us has. It was filmed just before, and in response to, the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last year. The climate emergency is such a huge global issue, I wanted to somehow say something as a young person who will need to deal with this as an adult.
"The climate problem is so huge and complex, the film had to be simple and about the everyday. So it's about me on my journey to school, walking, cycling and wheeling with the other kids, and seeing all the adults driving about the city on their short journeys (one adult per car...), and metaphorically telling us to recycle our yoghurt cartons whilst they pollute the planet. It really makes me mad."
As a wheelchair user, filmmaking allows me to express myself creatively, and without any barriers.Greta (Aged 18) - Into Film Award Winning Filmmaker of 'Change Direction'
Greta had the support of her classmate Nick and her parents during production, but directed the film herself through the use of her eyegaze communicator.
"As a wheelchair user, filmmaking allows me to express myself creatively, and without any barriers. I make films using my eyegaze device, which wouldn't have been possible even a few years ago. Advances in technology have been a real game-changer, and can allow people with disabilities to be on a level playing field".
Change Direction is a particularly impressive achievement given that Greta is relatively new to filmmaking, only taking up the art very recently and learning the ropes remotely due to the pandemic. "During lockdown, I started to explore film on my phone. Then a Zoom film class started up, and it was really interesting. Filmmaking, particularly short films, are important to convey messages, thoughts and information in the age of Tik Tok and 15 second films".
Articles relating to our annual Into Film Awards, including all the nominees and winners from past years.View other Videos in this column
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Congratulations to young people at Screen Education Edinburgh, whose charming stop-motion animation carries a crucial message about preserving the environment.
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