Freya Baker-Duffin
Freya Baker-Duffin

A teenager from Coventry has won a national film award for a short film that was put together around the theme of anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Freya Baker-Duffin, 17, who recently completed her A-Levels at Finham Park School Sixth Form (which included Film Studies), won the Best Film in the 16-19 category in the national Into Film Awards 2022 (sponsored by Warner Bros. Discovery).

The award for her four-minute film ‘Driven to Despair’ was presented by actors Sheyi Cole and Lola Petticrew on Tuesday evening at the Odeon Lux in Leicester Square.

The judges said: “It's a film that does an incredible job of conveying the anxiety that can be caused by OCD, and delivers a memorable depiction of the way a seemingly everyday inconvenience can be debilitating to those with mental health issues. That a young filmmaker has managed to create something so visceral is extremely impressive.”

Freya said: “I’m really overwhelmed. I never expected to win! The other two films in my category were both amazing. This award has given me more confidence, I’m very proud and excited for the future. 

“I wanted to say thanks to Into Film for this opportunity, I had a lovely day at the awards ceremony and the organisation is doing amazing work by giving a platform for young people to show their films to a larger audience.”

She said:When I was younger, I loved creating stories and edited videos, with my friends acting in them. As I got older, I began to watch more Film and TV and analysed the different ways in which they presented stories, as well as reading screenplays and looking at storyboards.

Freya attended Finham Park School’s Film Lab, a club for people with an interest in making films.

“I’m grateful to my Film Studies teacher Mr Gunn who advised me to make a film about something I care about, and tell a story that I felt needed to be told. He’s a great teacher.

I decided to focus on anxiety and OCD for my film because it is something I have dealt with and because I’m aware of the stigma these issues carry.” She added.

The short film cost nothing to make, and Freya used her own used camera and borrowed some other equipment from her Sixth Form. The actors were drama students and people from Finham Park School who all generously gave up their time to act in the film.

She explained: “It felt important to make a film about OCD especially, due to people’s preconceived notions regarding the issue. I hope this film sheds some light on a real experience.

“At the end of the film the main character realises she’s going to be okay, which is the stage I wanted to give to anyone experiencing these issues. 

“I hope that someone might watch this film and feel a bit less alone knowing that there are other people out there who deal with them.”

Freya planned the film in November and filmed it in February.

She said: “I knew I wanted to use a bus as the shooting, to symbolise the main character’s journey over the course of the film.

“I’ve just got an apprenticeship working in TV which starts in September, and I've started work on a number of other scripts. I have more ideas for short films I’m planning to make over the summer.”

You can watch the film on the Into Film website. 

Published: Thursday, 30th June 2022