Amelia loving life through the lens

Amelia has aspirations of working in the Film and TV Production industry thanks to support from the Zoom Cymru project
Amelia has aspirations of working in the Film and TV Production industry thanks to support from the Zoom Cymru project

Struggling to cope with family problems, 17 year old Amelia John from Penrhiwceiber started self-harming in 2005 and kept it a secret from everyone for five years. Feeling depressed, helpless, scared and tired, it got to the point where she considered taking her own life.  Her secret eventually came out in February last year when her self-harming got so bad that she had to be admitted to hospital.

A far cry from twelve months ago, Amelia has thankfully found a new lease of life through the Zoom Cymru project. Funded with nearly £250,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund, Zoom Cymru aims to enhance the social inclusion, life skills, training and employment opportunities for young people in Wales by providing them with creative film, television and media opportunities.

Whilst improving her confidence and self-esteem, Amelia has learnt a range of new skills in media and now aspires to work in the Film and TV Production industry. In March this year, she will be on stage hosting this year’s televised Zoom Young Film Maker Awards (ZYFA), something she never would have imagined during her darkest hours a year ago . . .

I started self-harming around May of 2005. The main reason behind my self-harming is because I had a lot of family problems and everything got too much. My sister was back and forth to the hospital and so was my Dad and my brother was diagnosed with autism. I just wanted a little bit of attention because I felt like I was being pushed away, yet I hid it from everyone. It felt like I gave myself the attention but without anyone knowing.

I never thought I was suffering with mental health problems until I was hospitalised for self-harming in February last year. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me and I thought that what I was doing was just a normal thing that people did but hid from everyone else. Self-harming started off as a coping mechanism for other problems but turned into part of my problems as well when people started finding out.

I first got involved with the Zoom Cymru project back in 2010 with their first summer school course. I heard about it through the local community centre in Penrhiwceiber. I had previously attended a three day residential with the local community centre during the summer of 2010 and they believed I would benefit more from going to the summer school.

The project has helped Amelia learn a range of new media skills and has also helped improve her confidence
The project has helped Amelia learn a range of new media skills and has also helped improve her confidence

From attending several different projects with Zoom over the years, I’ve learnt a lot of new skills like how to use different types of cameras and in different surroundings. I’ve also learnt about video editing and the tricks of how to get a professional look. Ever since the summer school in 2010 I’ve wanted to work in the Film or TV production industry because I’ve always felt in my comfort zone while working with Zoom and other production companies.

The Zoom Cymru projects have helped me with my confidence in talking to new people and being able to talk to media companies in a professional manner without being nervous. Zoom has provided me with a new outlook on my future and a new focus to keep going through all the things I do. I will keep attending the summer schools and then hopefully find work in the film or media industry.

I’m also a member of the Zoom Film Council that works alongside Zoom to help promote Media in Wales and in particular the annual Zoom Film Festival. With the council, I take part in volunteering opportunities and I meet and talk to other young people that share the same interests. I also help with fundraising activities and I’m a mentor for younger participants. I’m hoping to have the opportunity to Chair the Zoom Film Council soon. It’s an amazing opportunity to be part of the council and such an amazing team.

I’m now looking forward to the presenting the Zoom Cymru young film makers awards in March. I’ve never done anything this big ever. I’ve given class and assembly presentations but never anything as big as this.

I never actually thought I’d be doing any of this, presenting the film making awards, being part of the Zoom Film Festival and setting up opportunities for other young people. This is a positive thing for me because it’s helping me to gain confidence in myself, helps me with my self-esteem and it definitely keeps me occupied.

Check out the short film, ‘Breaking Glass Ceilings’, which Amelia and some of the other young people at Zoom Cymru produced and edited themselves . . .

For further information about Zoom Cymru and the
Zoom International Young Peoples Film Festival 11th – 15th March 2013, visit

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