Journalism Postgraduates scoop international documentary grants

Leeds Trinity postgraduate students Jonnel Benjamin and Ôné Chappy have each secured a One World Media bursary to make documentary films in the developing world.

Jonnel Benjamin was just a child when she was forced to flee her home on the Caribbean island of Montserrat following a devastating volcanic explosion in 1995. Now, with support from the charity, she’s set to return to discover how life has changed for those who had to stay.

Jonnel impressed judges with her proposal, which centres around going back to the old home which her parents abandoned overnight.

“I can’t imagine a more powerful image than of me returning home and seeing all my family’s things. I also plan to visit my old school and speak to the teachers. I hope to contact my former classmates, and catch up on how things are today. I imagine we lead very different lives”.

Ôné Chappy has secured a One World Media bursary for her idea to examine a weird cultural phenomenon in rural Botswana – young people who live and breathe western heavy metal music. Ôné is warning that audiences must forget any preconceptions.

“When someone says ‘heavy metal’, you probably conjure up an image of long haired, tattooed, leather-clad white guys or something similar. Imagine instead a new movement coming from Africa, made up of black heavy metal cowboys” she said.

“Because of massive differences between local culture and the heavy metal culture, some locals have accused metalheads of being Satanists. Others can’t understand their music and appearance, and shun them. This documentary will answer questions as to whether Botswana’s heavy metal bands produce real heavy metal music, or if they’re just a group of people who have adopted a particular style and identity”.

The grants from One World Media will pay travelling and subsistence expenses for Ôné and Jonnel to produce their films over the coming summer using Leeds Trinity’s technical equipment. The finished documentaries will be available via One World Media’s website.

Projects were judged by a professional panel including Channel Four News Foreign Affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller and award-winning documentary filmmakers Havana Marking and Will Anderson.

For further information visit the Leeds Trinity University website