Maddie Barnes wins the Overcoming Obstacles Award at the 19th MY HERO International Film Festival

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO Staff

153278Secondary StrobeMY HERO

Secondary Strobe directed by Maddie Barnes has won the Overcoming Obstacles Award at the 19th MY HERO International Film Festival.

In the documentary, Secondary Strobe, Maddie uncovers the fact that, in Great Britain, deaf athletes currently receive no funding to compete at high level competitions. The film follows Libby Gotta, a competitive swimmer and member of the Great British Deaf Swimming Club (GBDSC), as she pursues a world championship qualification while facing a lack of funding and recognition.

Watch the film HERE.


MY Hero interviewed Maddie about the process of making Secondary Strobe:

How long have you been making films? 

I have been creating films for little over 5 years now, wondering what my place was in the world of filmmaking as I came from somewhere not very in tune with arts and the movies. I started out at the BFI Film Academy in Lincoln who offered me a lifeline into the world of filmmaking, and I will be forever grateful to them for allowing me the chance to make my first film. Having been a competitive swimmer myself, I have seen some of my peers go on to be funded by British Swimming and who now compete for Great Britain, one of whom came to be in my first documentary. However, with this film I wanted to delve more into a journalistic world of documentary, and I learnt about the Great British Deaf Swimming Club who became a big focus for me, learning about the club and how they support their athletes was a big driving factor. As they receive no funding, the club members themselves must run solely on donations and this is key to why the club is like it is - they welcome you in with open arms and allow you to become a part of them. This is what I think is the importance of the film - the determination and desire to succeed among an environment that actively doesn’t support it. All the club members work with each other to be the best possible versions of themselves, and this is something we wanted to capture within the film.

153279The CrewMaddie Barnes

Could you please tell us about the process of making the film?

The process was incredibly hard. You would be surprised at how hard it is to shoot within a swimming pool, but this was also the most rewarding part of our film shoot. We spent only 3 hours with Libby in the pool in Christchurch within which time we had to secure all of the underwater imagery. This was only possible due to our incredible team of ADs, Producers, Camera and Lighting team and Sound. Making this film gave me the chance to learn sign language to be able to work with Libby when she was in the water, as when in the water she would have her implants out. Shooting at Loughborough was also incredibly rewarding and allowed us to grow as a crew and also connect with the GBDSC.

153280The TeamMaddie Barnes

Who helped make this possible?

Many people made this happen, probably too many to actually say. All of the people who donated to our Crowdfunder, Liz from TwoRiversMeet, the lecturers at the Arts University Bournemouth and also the Pool at Loughborough University, and the Great British Deaf Swimming Club. This is a very brief list but if they helped us, they know who they are!!

Do you have a mentor or a personal hero?

I have an amazing mentor in Michaela Storm-Moir who has been incredibly helpful in my development as not only a human but as a filmmaker. But I also have many personal heroes and people who inspire me to put out the best possible work.

About the MY HERO International Film Festival:

The My Hero Film Festival is an annual event dedicated to showcasing films celebrating the power of the human spirit. Hosted by Eva Haller, a prominent philanthropist and advocate for social change, the festival provides a platform for filmmakers to share inspirational stories of everyday heroes. Thanks to generous sponsors, prizes are awarded to elementary, middle school, high school, college, and professionals in a variety of categories including documentary, narrative, music video, animation, experimental, and more.

The festival aims to inspire audiences to recognize the heroism in their own lives and encourage positive actions in their communities. Learn more.

Join the MY HERO Ceremonies:

November 18, 2023, at 2 PM PST: Philanthropist and mentor Eva Haller is hosting the Virtual Awards Ceremony for The 19th Annual MY HERO International Film Festival as part of her weekly salon series. You can register your interest HERE.

Sunday, November 19th @ 10:30 am: The Celebration of Winners is a family-friendly virtual event held on the Sunday where clips of films will be shown from select first-place winners in a variety of categories including: Student Awards - Elementary, Middle, High School & College, Animation, Documentary, Narrative, Experimental, Trailer, Humanitarian, Poetic, Human Rights, Environmental, Immersive Storytelling Award, and more. You can register your interest HERE.

Page created on 11/16/2023 2:44:01 PM

Last edited 11/16/2023 4:10:20 PM