Anti-smoking film competition winner: “You inform other young people and you learn a lot yourself”

08:00 03 April 2013

Winner Chloe Wilson with T4 presenter Will Best at last year

Winner Chloe Wilson with T4 presenter Will Best at last year's awards ceremony. Picture: Mark Tillie

©mark tillie

Last year’s winner of the Deborah Hutton Campaign’s Cut Films competition, Chloe Wilson, talks to London24 reporter Sebastian Mann about her film to put young people off smoking, sitting on this year’s judging panel, and why she kicked the habit.

"Kids do have a lot to say on the matter and I don’t think they’re always heard"

Chloe Wilson

At first, 20-year-old Chloe Wilson thought entering the Cut Films anti-smoking competition would be a waste of time: “I did not want to enter purely because I thought I was not going to win - most people never win competitions.”

So it must have come as a shock when, not only did she win, but she came to represent the goal of the competition’s organiser, the Deborah Hutton Campaign, a peer-to-peer smoking prevention charity. While making her prize-winning film highlighting the very physical consequences of smoking, Chloe herself gave up smoking.

“It’s kind of like a sign isn’t it? You can’t be a hypocrite and make an anti-smoking advert and be a smoker yourself,” she says, confidently.

The Cut Films competition asks young people nationwide to make short videos aimed at discouraging their peers from smoking. In past years entries have been varied - from films showing teenagers self-harming in ways other than smoking (entitled “What’s the Difference?”) to one that uses Lego to illustrate the costs of the habit - and last year more than 70 young people submitted films.

This year the Deborah Hutton Campaign hopes in excess of 150 will be shot and entered - and Chloe’s on the judging panel.

“I was actually honoured to be asked because only less than a year before I was in the position of the candidates I guess,” she explains.

“Every single year I guess it’s a different style that people come out with and so it’s really interesting to see the dynamic ideas of young people.”

Children, she says, are often the hidden victims of smoking, when a parent’s habit has a passive health cost or can provoke a child’s nagging concern that their parent is recklessly damaging their health.

“Kids do have a lot to say on the matter and I don’t think they’re always heard.”

Behind Chloe’s idea, an understated film called “Liquid” which shows how smoking leads to a build up of tar in your lungs (above), was a desire to create something distinctive. “I actually did see a lot of the other entries and they were really good but they were kind of a bit morbid. So I thought I’d do something different,” she says. Instead of focusing on the mere fact that tobacco seriously affects your health and can kill you, Chloe opted for “something more representative of the problem”, illustrating one of the specific consequences.

On the judging panel this year, Chloe says she’s looking for something similarly dynamic. “I guess they have to stand out – they have to be something different. Not just: ah, she’s a smoker, tar comes out of her mouth, and then that’s the end of it.” She’s after something she insists you would watch “voluntarily”.

But this competition is not just about winning. Currently a student at Lambeth College, Chloe’s keen to pursue a career in the media, and just taking part in Cut Films was a way to gain some relevant experience. This September she’s off to university to study digital film and creative media.

What’s more, for Chloe taking part had health benefits - learning about the effects of smoking led to her quitting. “I suppose it’s a win-win situation,” she concludes, “you inform other young people and you learn a lot yourself.”

So what would she say to others considering entering this year?

“I would say that there’s nothing to lose and it’s for a good cause - even if you convince one person, one young person not to start, then I guess your efforts have not been in vain.”

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