Wellingborough filmmaker with muscle-wasting condition creates documentary on life when shielding during lockdown

Stephanie Castelete-Tyrrell lives with congenital muscular dystrophy and her nine times award-winning documentary, ‘Living In Fear’ has now been shortlisted for a London film festival

By Megan Hillery
Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 5:24 pm
'Living In Fear' has won nine awards and has been shortlisted for a London Film Festival.
'Living In Fear' has won nine awards and has been shortlisted for a London Film Festival.

A filmmaker, who lives with a life-limiting muscle-wasting condition recorded a documentary of her life in lockdown as she was forced to shield in her home for 10 months - the film, ‘Living In Fear’, has won nine awards and has been selected for Pinewood Studios’ London Lift-Off Film Festival.

Stephanie Castelete-Tyrrell, 26, from Wellingborough, lives with congenital muscular dystrophy which meant that she was unable to leave her home since March 1. Her condition causes muscles to weaken and waste over time so she is classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

Stephanie, who owns ‘Four Wheel Drive Productions’, felt inspired to show the outside world her experiences of lockdown, thus the idea for her documentary, ‘Living In Fear’ was born. She filmed this and around her home, aiming to capture the complex difficulties faced by the disabled community and anyone who lives with muscle-wasting conditions.

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Stephanie Castelete-Tyrrell has filmed an multi award-winning documentary, 'Living in Fear', which shows her life as she was confined to her home for 10 months during lockdown.

She single-handedly took on the responsibilities of writing, recording - with a camera installed on her adapted chair - and editing. While these were skills Stephanie had mastered in her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, this was her first solo project and took four months to complete.

The 96-minute film features interviews and video diaries of participants as they reveal how isolation has affected their well-being. Stephanie’s own video diaries discuss her emotions and fears as lockdown progressed.

‘Living In Fear’ shows how Stephanie’s father embarked on 40-mile round trips just to buy food, how it took her a month to adapt to a new daily life and details her battle with depression and fear of being forgotten by society.

The trailer for ‘Living in Fear’ can be accessed here and will be kept in festivals until early 2021 before Stephanie secures a distribution deal.

Stephanie’s documentary has already obtained a string of award wins, despite her film not yet being released to the general public. Her most recent victory was the prestigious Jury Award in the Disability Category at EssexDocFest - a national showcase for upcoming independent talent in the sector.

Judges, praising Stephanie’s documentary, said: “It tells a personal story with conviction and openness and captures a unique experience of the world at a time when people are facing great challenges.

“It is direct in its approach while surveying a limited and intimate space - mainly shot in the home - but communicates a broader message about disability and coping with extraordinary circumstances."

‘Living in Fear’ has, furthermore, been selected for Pinewood Studios’ highly-respected London Lift-Off Film Festival.

The festival runs throughout the month of December and the judging process is largely dependent on audience members as they get to vote for their favourite film and the results contribute to the judges’ final decision.

Tickets for the London Lift-Off Film Festival can be purchased here and Stephanie is appealing for your support.

She said: “The EssexDocFest win is a hugely important award for me, especially this year and because of difficulties we could never have foreseen.

“I wanted to make sure people’s voices were heard and that the disabled community would not be forgotten. I am really excited that my documentary has been shortlisted at the London Lift-Off Film Festival – please vote for me to show your support!”