A film-maker and photographer from Wrexham has made a series of films looking into people’s lives during the coronavirus lockdown. Dominika Edwards, from Hightown, is a third- year student on Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s BA (Hons) Photography and Film degree course. She also runs a small business called Little Munchkin Photography.
She decided to start making the films after initial plans for her final year project were put on hold by the coronavirus lockdown. Instead, she worked with Joanna, a mother-to-be, and Joanna’s family to help put together a short film examining lockdown life and what it has been like giving birth in lockdown. It has captured a series of children’s and parents’ reactions to the pandemic.
Her Original Intention
She said: “I was originally going to photograph a series of births for the project, however, as coronavirus started to grip the nation, it slowly became a reality that this was no longer going to be a viable option. The lockdown is something that will live in our memories for the rest of our lives. There was so much change that it was unfathomable to understand how it affected everyone.
“I guess all these questions helped me realise that whilst still being relative to my original project idea. I could use a documentary as a medium to capture the situation Joanna found herself in and how children were coming to terms with the ‘New Normal.’”
Making the films during lockdown, and with the restrictions it imposed on unnecessary travel, meant that Dominika had to adjust her working practices to train her “camera crew” quickly.
She added; “It wasn’t an easy task to get the footage to create my films. It took a long time to prepare the parents for their new role as “filmmakers” when making the film about the children.
Each parent received detailed instructions; covering camera positioning, lighting, and more. These instructions were particularly important. They used a wide range of devices to make the films, including mobile phones.
Dominika said: “I usually like to be very hands-on when I am at work. Setting up my camera to get the perfect angle with the lighting is something I am quite picky about. I was out of my comfort zone not knowing what kind of footage was going to come through. The parents did a very good job and followed my instructions very well!
“Joanna recorded the footage herself. We spent a lot of time communicating what we could capture and how to get it. I know how disappointed she was knowing that the birth photography was not going ahead. I cannot thank Joanna enough for her commitment to my project and her hard work considering the situation.”
A Warm Reception
Once the volunteer camera crews had pulled the footage together, Dominika worked to pull the two films together. She has uploaded them onto YouTube and they’ve received a warm reception. Viewers have taken to social media to praise her work after seeing family, friends and pupils in the documentary.
She added: “The reception for the children’s film was very heart-warming, I know that it brought tears to the eyes of the parents and that the kids loved seeing themselves! Teachers and families of the children were very touched too and were kind enough to share some lovely words on social media.
“Joanna’s film had a great reception. I wasn’t quite sure how expecting mothers would receive it. It had quite a positive impact as a lot of the women had a lot of questions answered or some of their worries eased. There have been some really fantastic comments on the film, I couldn’t be happier with how people have received it.”
A Challenge For Students
Dr Karen Heald, Lecturer on Glyndŵr’s BA (Hons) Photography and Film Degree course, said: “Making a final year project work is always a challenge for students. Pulling one together in a pandemic with a socially-distanced crew is even tougher, but Dominika’s films are fabulous and she deserves the praise they’re getting online.”
Dominika has also praised the teaching she has received at Glyndŵr for boosting her skills as a filmmaker and for helping her to improve her business.
She added: “Studying at Glyndwr has opened up new doors for me and my business. Three years ago, I would have never considered film-making as my profession, but I have grown into it. I enjoy piecing footage together with a nice backing song to make a beautiful film. I feel that I have taken a lot from what I have learned in university and applied that knowledge to my business and personal work.”
You can see Dominika’s films online here; Giving Birth in the Coronavirus Lockdown and The Coronavirus Lockdown from a Child’s Perspective’
To find out more about Wrexham Glyndwr University’s BA (Hons) Photography and Film, click here.