Emma Fry main image

One of the female land mine clearers at work in Cambodia, a land where over 65 per cent of jobs are in farming and agriculture

University College Falmouth MA International Journalism student Emma Fry has landed £10,000 for her first professional documentary.

Emma is the first student to have won the award and was the youngest among more than 100 applications from film makers pitching for the cash at this year’s prestigious Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Emma filmed in Cambodia as part of her MA project at University College Falmouth and will now go back in November to use the £10,000 she was awarded to produce a full film.

The theme for this year’s entries was 'Women mean business' and Emma’s documentary will feature the work of female land mine clearers in Cambodia.

Most of the land mines remain from the times of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Devices still buried in the fields have caused more than 40,000 Cambodians to suffer amputations as a result of mine injuries since 1979.

Emma Fry filming
Soz Chan was injured by a land mine in his own field

Emma’s work documents the women who risk their lives every day undertaking land mine clearing as a profession.

One of the women had a major in accounting, but seeing villagers injured by the mines she wanted to focus on helping these people insteadEmma Fry
Women in developing countries are often led to believe they should have little to do with commerce. Commenting on this Emma said: “It was nice to see these women play such an important role in their community and I was very surprised at how they showed no fear for the task at hand.

“One of the women had a major in accounting, but seeing villagers injured by the mines she wanted to focus on helping these people instead.”

For some time it was uncertain if Emma was even going to make it to the pitch, with dates of the festival colliding with her first planned trip to Cambodia.

“I had to rebook the trip and I lost a lot of money on the flights, but I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss”, she said.

Emma Fry
Cambodian Mina Action Centre which is committed to clearing the mines

The Sheffield Doc/Fest sees representatives of the British documentary industry come together under one roof. It attracts leading documentary makers and executives in British television.

Speaking about her pitch and being the least experienced film maker standing up in front of the crowd, Emma added: “I was terrified, especially as it was my first public pitch – but the training and skills I have picked up on the Falmouth MA gave me the confidence to win.”

The MA courses provide students with a wide range of skills preparing them for the real working life of journalismGeorge Matheson, programme leader of journalism at UCF
Programme Leader of Journalism at University College Falmouth, George Matheson, said: “The MA courses provide students with a wide range of skills preparing them for the real working life of journalism with around 80 per cent of our MA students ending up with jobs in the industry after they’ve graduated.

“This is a fantastic award worth a lot of money and it shows that Emma is already able to compete with some of the best in the industry.  I’m confident she’ll use the money to produce some great journalism.”

The documentary will be shown on the Community Channel in the first instance but following the initial screening Emma will be helped in finding other outlets to showcase the film.

A taster of Emma’s work so far is available on her blog.

The award is funded by CBA World View which is supported by the government’s Action Aid programme.

More about University College Falmouth

Originally founded as Falmouth School of Art in 1902, University College Falmouth (UCF) has, over its 110 year history, grown from a small art school of less than 200 students to a multi-arts University College with around 3,600 full time students studying art, design, media, performance and writing programmes.

The University College is situated on two main campuses: Woodlane in Falmouth and Tremough in Penryn. The historic Woodlane is home to Fine Art, Graphics, Illustration, Fashion and Foundation Studies.

In 1999 UCF acquired a large site at Tremough, Penryn which has been developed as a joint venture with University of Exeter. Over £100 million of investment, supported by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence, the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFC) funding, has produced an exemplary campus with facilities for Photography, Media and Design, along with two thirds of all UCF's students now housed there.

In 2008 UCF merged with Dartington College of Arts, who relocated to a £19 million purpose built Performance Centre at Tremough in October 2010. In 2012 two further new facilities open at Tremough - The Academy for Innovation & Research (AIR) and The Exchange, a major extension to the library to provide new types of learning space and facilities.

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