Three groups of students studying Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative and Media from Southport College won top prizes at the North West Cut Films Awards 2012 at The Odeon, Printworks in Manchester on Monday night (28 Jan 2013).

The competition run by The Deborah Hutton Campaign and Smoke & Mirrors youth anti-tobacco project, produced by Tobacco Free Futures, asked young people across the North West to research tobacco marketing or smoking in the media, make a two minute short film about it for their friends, upload to the competition website and share it on their social media.

45 films were entered from the North West, over 1000 people voted for their favourite and the films have been viewed over 12,000 times on YouTube.  The awards ceremony was hosted by Hollyoaks actress, Alice Barlow (Rae Wilson) and winners were presented their awards by Waterloo Road actor, Jack McMullen (Finn Sharkey).   Southport College took home three awards including Merseyside Popular Choice for their film, Smoke and Mirrors, third place Judges’ Choice for Captain Willpower and second place Judges’ Choice for Smoke Busters.

Yasmin Seddon, aged 16 and Lydia Rylance, aged 16 who came second overall with Smoke Busters said: “It was fun as we did a fun video and I enjoyed bringing the idea to life. Having people see the hard work over the Internet was great too! Being a finalist is rewarding in itself, but the project also made me more motivated and taught me a lot more about smoking that I didn’t know before.”

Rhian Adams, aged 19, who made Captain Willpower said: “I really enjoyed the making of Captain Willpower. The filming turned out better than expected and my friends were a great help acting for me and helping to put across the ‘stop smoking’ message. I’m very proud that I have been short-listed; I was not expecting any prize at all. I was happy with my film and I’m glad that the judges enjoyed it.”

Daniel Spinks, aged 21 who directed Smoke and Mirrors said: “I enjoyed the filming which is not what I usually enjoy, because what I was filming was quite gruesome and intense which made it more interesting to film. I’m really proud and pleased with myself to have won Merseyside Popular Choice Award.”

Cut Films Charity Director Emma Wrafter said: “In England alone 150,000 young people aged between 11-15 are regular smokers. 100,000 people die each year in the UK from smoking related illnesses, so talking to young people about the risks is vital.

Young people in the North West have shared their messages about tobacco with their friends and their community. Their films will make a difference and could save lives.   Congratulations to all the young people from Southport College for making such strong films and standing up to Big Tobacco.”

Andrea Crossfield, Director of Tobacco Free Futures who funded the competition said: “Young people in the North West feel very strongly about the tobacco industry targeting them and their friends through the media and glitzy cigarette packaging. Our region is leading the way in the UK on youth tobacco issues, with research findings suggesting 8 out of 10 young people in the North West think that the Government should do more to tackle smoking.

This competition has given young people in the North West an opportunity to express their ideas on an issue they are passionate about to their peers and in doing so helping to make smoking history for young people.”

To learn more about the courses at Southport College visit their Open Evening on Tuesday 5 February 4.00pm-7.30pm

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