'The Lost Year' is September 2020's Film of the Month

01 Oct 2020 in Film of the Month

8 mins
'The Lost Year' is September 2020's Film of the Month

We are delighted to announce that the September 2020 winner of Film of the Month is Y Flwyddyn Goll (The Lost Year) from Hedydd in Wales. See Hedydd's fantastic film above!

Y Flwyddyn Goll (The Lost Year) is engaging for ages 14+, and is a Welsh short that sees a young man reach out to a past love interest during lockdown, leading him to reflect on the challenges of isolation and the relatable characteristics of growing up.

I find lockdown films very interesting because this is a massive moment in all our lives - I think this film in particular has really captured the anxiety and uncertainty of life in lockdown, and in a way that is genuinely beautiful. I am sure this film will resonate with a lot of young viewers.

Film of the Month judge on The Lost Year

We got in touch with Hedydd to find out more about his film. 

Congratulations! How did you start making films?

I started making short films when I was about 9 years old when I got my first camera. I remember begging my dad for a camera. My family, including my grandfather, had always been heavily into home movies so there was always a camera around. The thought of getting to own one and creating my own stories really excited me. From then one I've just been watching and learning more about the brilliant world of cinema.

What inspired you to make The Lost Year?

Someone from the BBC contacted me about a project they were running that was searching for young filmmakers to react to the current situation and being in lockdown. It sounded like an amazing opportunity and I was looking forward to making a piece of work that could potentially reach a lot more people than my films usually do. I went out and brainstormed a couple of ideas based on my experiences over the past few months in lockdown and felt like the story of The Lost Year was a really important and timely story that I wanted to share with the world.

What emotions would you like the audience to feel while watching your film?

I would like people to feel the awkwardness; the underlying tension in what he isn't saying. When we talk to each other, we rarely say what we really want to. Because it can be hard. I'm an apprentice at a theatre company called Fran Wen, and during the lockdown we produced a show with a lot of young people over Zoom. Through hearing others talk about their emotions, and seeing the amazing production at the end, I knew this was a story that would also connect with others. I feel art should always be vulnerable and open, because then we can connect to it on a deeper level.

What does The Lost Year say about the world we're all currently living in?

For me I think it's how lonely we are. Especially young people. We can sometimes fall victim to living inside this bubble of social media. I think social media is a great tool that has changed the world for the better, but when it becomes a way of living instead of a tool, then there's a problem. Then the lockdown came, and all this was just heightened. There is something morbidly ironic in the fact that we are more connected than we have ever been, but also the generation that's most distant from others. To me The Lost Year captures what my world has been like for these last few months.

Why did you choose to create the film around a text message?

So much of the communication we do as young people is through text messages or social media apps. It's like second nature to us. And I don't think it's been represented in a good or interesting way yet. I really hate seeing text messages appear in bubbles on the screen. Texting is just another way of communicating, and ultimately, in the middle of lockdown, was one of the only ways we could communicate with others. Because of this I felt it was a really strong centerpiece to build the film around.

Are there any filmmakers or directors that are inspiring or influential to you?

There are so many directors that have had such an impact on my style. I really love the work of Stanley Kubrick and his dedication towards his visions. We have a great local cinema that shows a lot of the BFI retrospectives so I've also been influenced by foreign language directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a German filmmaker. Seeing people who have had an amazing career producing their films in different languages really inspires me to keep making my films in Welsh and showing the language on a global scale hopefully.

Do you have any upcoming films in production? What's next for you?

During lockdown I've been developing my first feature. We have a script in place and are in the middle of shooting a 'proof of concept' at the moment. I'm really looking forward to creating projects that can tackle really big and intriguing topics. I've always been obsessed with memory, dreams and the more surreal side of reality, so a feature really gives me the opportunity to showcase those ideas.

What advice would you give other young/aspiring filmmakers who want to create their first short film?

Just make a film. Anything. Create. Fall in love with creating. It doesn't even need to be a "short film". It can be a vlog on your phone. YouTube has really challenged the idea of what filmmaking can be, and we are seeing some amazing vlogs / documentaries being produced on a pretty big scale. But ultimately, for young filmmakers like me, my advice would be to just make your first film and carry on from there. You'll only get better. And also, making films is really fun. So enjoy it!

Hedydd's film will now be showcased to over 300,000 film club members online and all of our Film of the Month films are now on the Into Film YouTube channel, and he has also secured a £100 Amazon voucher to help further develop their future films. Think you could win Film of the Month? Find out more about how you can enter our ongoing Film of the Month competition.

If you've been inspired by The Lost Year then make sure to check out the following films:

  • Her (2013, 15, 121 mins) Engaging for ages 14+
    A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with a newly purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need.
  • Eighth Grade (2018, 15, 94 mins) Engaging for ages 16+
    An exploration of social media and its impact on the self-esteem of a 13-year-old girl navigating the end of middle school and the hurdles of growing up.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, 15, 103 mins) Engaging for ages 14+
    Unique drama that sees a broken-hearted man who wipes a whole relationship from his memory and faces the consequences and confusion of his actions.
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012, 12, 98 mins) Engaging for ages 11+
    The joys and heartbreaks of growing up are beautifully handled in this captivating coming-of-age story that balances emotion with humour.

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