Carrying On - Val Stein

In my eight years with Tina, she taught me: the names of trees; that Radio Four wasn’t boring; that if you really wanted to go to Sissinghurst, it didn’t matter if it was raining. It always was!

But mainly she tried to teach me to have confidence and hope, and to love myself. I wish she’d taken her own advice.
After she killed herself it was hard to hold onto hope, especially when “Brave New Millennium” started turning into End of the World.

But if Tina were here, she’d be campaigning for peace, women’s rights, civil liberties, and transition to a non-nuclear, low-carbon, socially-resilient future. With organic vegetables.
But she isn’t – so it’s up to me to carry on fighting.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was a Londoner for 43 years, and now I live in a beautiful valley in West Wales, near a Transition Town*. I have always been involved in the arts, using words and music, but I'd never made a film. Though as a cartoonist I've told concise, visual stories…with punchlines.

What’s your story about?

This story has a different kind of punchline. At first it might look like your classic old-fangled lesbian love story with a tragic ending. But then it moves beyond the grief into renewed commitment to building a better future. In fact, it's a journey of Transition.

Why did you choose this particular story?

The idea just appeared fully-formed. Once it did, it was obvious that it was the right one, and everything fell into place. At least the story did: the pictures took a little longer.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?

It was great to learn new skills: how to bring images into my storytelling, and fit them to the soundtrack. I was ill on the second morning, and almost didn't make it to the workshop. But we worked hard, and despite technical hitches it somehow it all came together. And I love the other participants' films - what humour, what talent!

* There are lots of these now. Look it up...

  • Aberystwyth University
  • Arts Council of Wales
  • Welsh Government
  • National Lottery
  • Ceredigion County Coucil

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