The latest Raising Films Ribbon award goes to a short film production and its director Marnie Baxter for bringing a story about a young carer to the screen to help lift the isolation often felt by young carers and to share their experiences with a wider audience.
The ambition with the film is to raise awareness, spark conversation and dispel the stigma surrounding young carers by giving a human voice to their role and exploring what it feels for a young person to care for a loved one.
The film, HELLO, MUSCLES is about a young girl, on the cusp of secondary school, coming to terms with her role as a young carer.
The film will be donated to a young carers charity for use as an educational tool, encouraging young carers to come forward to receive support as well as reminding teachers to seek out unidentified young carers.
HELLO, MUSCLES is currently in pre-production and is being made in solidarity with young carers, and with the support of a range of organisations, including The Carers Trust, Young Carers Club, The Children’s Society and NHS England.
Here’s Marnie with more about the film, how they were driven to become involved and the ethos behind it,
“I directed my first short film, BAD MOTHER, last year, which Mark Kermode described as “excellently unsettling”. (RF: you can read Marnie’s post about that film here) And I’ve just directed DO THIS FOR ME for Mini Productions.
HELLO, MUSCLES is my next project and really close to my heart. I grew up in Shetland and looked after my mum over several years, on and off. But I didn’t call myself a young carer, as providing this support for my mum was just my normal. When writer, Matthew Hurt, sent me the first draft of HELLO, MUSCLES it evoked my upbringing so strongly, so clearly, that I knew this had to be my next film.
HELLO, MUSCLES is a story that absolutely needs to be told. From my research talking to young carers groups across the country, it seems that what is most challenging for them is feeling that they are misunderstood and that they are totally on their own. Seeing their stories – or a version of their stories – on screen will go a long way to changing that feeling of isolation. I think about what a difference it would have made to me when I was younger to have seen my story reflected on screen.
I also love how female driven the HELLO, MUSCLES story is, how empowering it is to young girls, something that especially resonates with me as the mother of a daughter.
In a world where there is still a fundamental disparity between how we treat boys and girls, I will be proud to show my daughter and her friends this film, a reminder of how strong they are and how powerful they can be.”
The pre-production schedule for HELLO, MUSCLES is being run around parental availability and the production set-up will support parents and carers on the crew. More about how this works in practice in our follow-up piece on HELLO, MUSCLES when it goes into production – watch this space!
Image: Marnie directing DO THIS FOR ME, courtesy Mini Productions