Young Border filmmakers in the Voice Of My Own (VOMO) project scooped a trilogy of prizes at the Inspire Awards.
VOMO’s cast and crew, who packed the front row of the second annual Scottish Borders Saltire Inspire Awards earlier this month in Galashiels, won the group award for achievements in Arts and Music for their feature-length film, Talent.
The group also cheered on former VOMO Trainee Producer Rachel Callaghan, 19, as she collected the overall Inspirational Individual award. VOMO nominated Rachel – now a VOMO Ambassador – for her courage and determination to succeed despite her battle with Crohn’s Disease, a long-term condition involving inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.
In the face of pain, exhaustion and lengthy stays in hospital, Rachel is determined to beat Crohn’s, and highlight the devastation it causes. Despite being in hospital for two months, Rachel’s doctors allowed her a special pass to go to the Saltire Inspire Awards evening with her peers.
She said:“I’ve fought Crohn’s Disease since 2008 and have ended up in Intensive Care many times. Crohn’s is a terrible illness which leaves sufferers in agony due to ulcers in their intestines.
“This award has inspired me to keep fighting and spread awareness about this destructive disease.
“People often confuse Crohn’s with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but it is nothing like it: debilitation can be so severe it is often hard for people with Crohn’s to lead a normal life, with many losing their bowel.”
VOMO, part of Scottish Borders Council’s Arts Development Service, offers young people opportunities to be recognised, heard and empowered.
Over the years the young people who are members of VOMO have produced a variety of dramas and documentaries, including Mob Rule, That’s Not Me and Radgie.
Talent is the group’s first feature-length film.
Talent centres around an exciting talent competition coming to the Borders, and features singing, dancing, magic and ventriloquy.
A cast and crew of 95 young people, from towns throughout the region, contributed an estimated 1,000 hours of their free time to the project, creating entertaining storylines, writing songs and composing music, before performing, filming and editing footage.
The first three screenings of Talent have been well-received and VOMO plans to make the film available to a wider audience soon.
VOMO supporter Councillor Vicky Davidson, Executive Member for Culture, Sport, Youth and Communities, said: “A huge ‘well done!’ to the young people of VOMO for their recent successes.
“Filming days for Talent were long and there were a lot of challenges to overcome, but they succeeded in creating a truly original, entertaining film.” In April, all eyes will be on VOMO filmmaker Lewis Teckkam as he heads to the SECC in Glasgow for the annual Young Scot Awards ceremony.
Twenty-one-year-old Lewis, from Hawick, has participated in several VOMO projects, including one film examining the issues faced by wheelchair users in the countryside.
Nominated by VOMO for his contribution to film and theatre, Lewis is the only Borderer to have been shortlisted in the national awards. VOMO’s new website will be launched shortly, but meanwhile contact firstname.lastname@example.org for info.