'Disconnected' wins Best Documentary

25 Jun 2024 in Into Film Awards

'Disconnected' wins Best Documentary

Congratulations to Safina, aged 17, from South Essex College in Southend-on-Sea, whose film Disconnected has won Best Documentary (sponsored by IMDb) at the 2024 Into Film Awards. The award was presented by actors Jason Patel and Ambika Mod.

Disconnected is a thoughtful documentary, which sees Safina taking it upon herself to delete her social media apps to see how reducing her screen time might affect her mental wellbeing. The film also explores the way in which many apps are deliberately designed to keep us addicted and sees Safina interviewing both her fellow classmates and her older sister Freya - who happens to be a professional social media influencer.

Best Documentary winner Safina collects her award on stage.

"The topic of social media usage is important to me", said Safina. "I feel it's effects strongly. As a young person growing up on social media, I understand how time-consuming it can be and how it can affect a person negatively. Taking time away from social media and sharing my experience felt important."

I felt pleased with the outcome. It positively impacted my audience, encouraging them to reflect on their usage, and also had a great impact on my own mental health.

Safina, aged 17, Into Film Award-winning filmmaker of 'Disconnected'

Social media and apps have very quickly become a fact of life for young people (and plenty of adults too!), and it's crucial that young people understand the risks associated with them, as well as the benefits. With the landscape of social media ever-changing - as evidenced by Twitter's recent rebrand to X and its constant chopping and changing of features ever since - it's vital that young people keep a critical view of the apps they use. 

"Sometimes my social media usage affects me negatively, and other times I take no notice of how it makes me feel", said Safina, speaking on what she learnt from her experiment. "When I do have phases where I feel locked in and can't stop scrolling, I know that breaking the loop will almost always help my mood. Acknowledging these moments and acting on them has helped me manage my time on social media."

Best Documentary winner Safina, with actors Jason Patel and Ambika Mod

Safina's film has extra impact for being made by someone in the key demographic targeted by many social media apps, and who has extra insight given her sister's profession as an influencer. It's also a brave decision for a teenager to cut themselves off in such a drastic way. Safina uses her experience to examine the effects of social media, to explore the reasons behind why they work the way they do, and to share her findings with her peers, making it a valuable and worthy Best Documentary winner.

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