Meet the UWE grad who could win a student BAFTA for her documentary on chimpanzees

UWE is certainly no stranger to its students being recognised for their talents, but this is something else

Lindsey Parietti's film 'Blood Island' beautifully captures the gripping story of the Chimpanzees in Liberia, who were infected with hepatitis and used to 'unlock the mysteries of human diseases.'

We spoke to Lindsey, who finished her MA degree Wildlife Filmmaking in 2017, to find out how she feels about being nominated for a student BAFTA.

How would you describe the film, and how did you come up with the idea for it?

"I first heard about the 'blood chimps' in Liberia offhand at a conservation talk at Bristol Zoo. I had no idea what their story was but I was immediately intrigued and went home and started digging for more information. When I found out what these chimps had been through…their story was so incredible and their sacrifice so great that I wanted galvanise people around the surviving chimps. I set out to make a campaign film, but an unexpected turn of events made me change direction while I was making Blood Island. I don't want to give any spoilers away so you'll have to watch to find out what that was!"

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Lindsey whilst shooting the film

How does it feel to be up for a BAFTA?

"It's a huge honour to be up for a BAFTA, particularly as the best film schools around the world have sent what they consider to be their top films for consideration. The UWE MA in Wildlife Filmmaking had three shortlisted films including Blood Island, more than any other university, which is quite amazing and is a testament to the quality of the course and our Programme Director Peter Venn. The course attracts a really passionate bunch of budding filmmakers, many of whom want to bring about big changes in the way we interact with our natural world. If being a BAFTA finalist means more people see Blood Island and feel compelled by the story of the chimps to make some changes in their own lives, that would mean more to me than any recognition."

Can you tell us some more about you?

"I'm inspired by stranger-than-fiction true stories and social justice causes. So when I heard about the blood research chimps in Liberia, I was completely fascinated and knew it was a story that had to be told.

I've spent most of my career as a journalist covering countries where the narrative is often consumed by chaos or conflict. I hope that my work shows another side of the story."

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The poster

Lindsey's short film has been selected as one of the nine finalists from 469 film submissions, from 35 countries. The BAFTA Student Film Awards 2018 Gala will take place on Friday, June 29th in Los Angeles.

You can watch the film on Youtube:

Good luck to Lindsey!

(Photo credit: Tom Campbell)