A POWERFUL film made by students from the University of the West of Scotland’s (UWS) Ayr campus has been shortlisted in the most coveted awards for documentary filmmakers.

‘Is it Me’ has been shortlisted in the “Best Student Documentary” category at the Grierson Awards – widely considered the ‘Oscars’ of the documentary world.

The documentary looks at body dysmorphia, a mental health condition that causes a person to fixate on perceived flaws in their appearance, and takes a highly visual look at the version of ourselves we choose to present to the world.

It was created by students from the University’s highly regarded MA Filmmaking course.

Director Chris McGill said: “My aim through this documentary was to raise awareness of body dysmorphia as a mental health issue, and ultimately open up a constructive discussion.

“Is it Me is a deeply personal film to me, as it delivers that message by sharing the story of a close friend of mine, Emma Russer, and how she has dealt with body dysmorphia through the bio drag art form. She is a truly remarkable individual.

“I have been blown away by the response to the film, and I am truly humbled to know that it is in contention for a Grierson Award.

“I would like to thank the staff on the MA Filmmaking course at UWS, and in particular Professor Nick Higgins, for the invaluable support and guidance they have given me.

“I would also like to thank Emma, for sharing her story.”

A number of students, most of whom have since graduated, were involved in making the documentary.

They are Siobhan Fahey, Johnny Belanov, Mahmud Hasan Kayesh, Valerie Theuns and Craig Andrew Robertson.

Professor Nick Higgins, director of UWS’s Creative Media Academy and Programme Leader for the MA Filmmaking degree, added: “This is a remarkable achievement for the team, and a strong endorsement for both the MA Filmmaking course and the wider Creative Media Academy.

“Our graduates are consistently making an impact on the industry, producing innovative, inspiring and, indeed, influential work, and I am really pleased that this powerful film and the talent involved in making it have been recognised at this level.”

The shortlisting is the latest in a string of prestigious awards and nominations for MA Filmmaking productions, including winning the

Royal Television Society’s Best UK Student Drama Award, and a nomination for the One World Media Best Student Film.

Good luck to the students involved, from all at the Ayr Advertiser.