A budding filmmaker who produced her first ever short titled Living with Parkinson’s disease is delighted to have won the Audience Award at the first annual Watford Short Film Festival.

Victoria Hart had volunteers at Parkinson’s West Herts, the west Hertfordshire branch of the charity Parkinson’s UK, because her grandpa suffered with the disease for many years.

At the beginning of April, with #WorldParkinsonsDay around the corner (April 11), she suggested to the group that she produce a short film to demonstrate some of the challenges people face living with Parkinson’s Disease to raise awareness of the condition and help find a cure.

The lead-time was tight in order to deliver it time, but it was completed with collaborative support from the group and cameraman Andrew Hart (who works with Victoria at Hart in Media, where she is head of creative).

The collective spent a morning filming with one of the beneficiaries, Hilary Jones from Oxhey Village.

Harrow Times:

(Victoria with Hilary)

Having being diagnosed about 10 years ago, Hilary was able to convey some of the challenges Parkinson’s has had on her daily life. Victoria was fully aware that Hilary could be jittery on her feet, though she really wanted to show viewers some of the struggles she spoke about.

What moved Victoria most from their conversation was her determination to stay active, even on days when she “felt like death”. Knowing that she always felt better afterwards, she motivated herself to do some form of exercise to help with stiffness and muscle spasms. Ruth, from the local group, also came along and together they went through a series of stretches in the garden to help their range of movement.

Due to timings, they weren’t able to join Hilary at one of the conductive exercise classes so Hilary’s husband, David, group treasurer, offered to film some clips from the class. This helped Victoria to put the story together in the edit and highlight some solutions that the group are able to subsidise, which makes a huge difference to those like Hilary, living with Parkinson’s.

Soon after making the film Victoria discovered the inaugural Watford Short Film Festival was coming to Watford in the summer and decided to enter the film. To her unexpected delight, the Living With Parkinson’s was officially selected and awarded at Watford Short Film Festival that not only delights her, but which, as a group, hopes it will raise awareness and help others better understand the condition and help find a cure.

Victoria Hart, is a volunteer media officer at Parkinson’s West Herts and head of creative at Hart In Media. She encourages anyone with Parkinson’s or those who know someone to get in touch with their nearest group to find out how they can support you. Living With Parkinson’s is available to watch on the website parkinsons-westherts.org.uk