Screen and Film School student raises awareness and charity funding for Alzheimer’s Research UK with short film

29 June, 2021

A student at Screen and Film School Brighton who has written and directed a short film is using its release to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Maddie Ferguson, who is in her second year of a BA (Hons) Filmmaking Degree, based the story of her latest short film September Moon on her own family’s experience with Alzheimer’s.

She was deeply affected by the sad loss of her uncle to the disease in the Summer of 2020. However, there was a particular romantic detail in his story which inspired her to create a short film about it.

We spoke with Maddie shortly after September Moon’s release to hear more about the film’s heart-warming backstory.

“My Uncle John passed away in June 2020 from Alzheimer’s, it was a hard time on all of us as a family. But, a couple of months after his passing, my aunt found a journal he had been secretly writing for decades.

I had the honour of reading a page where he had been reunited with my Auntie and realised he was in love with her. It tugged at my heart to hear about their love story. So, I jotted it down in my notes.”

During a Writing and Directing lecture at the Film School, Maddie told one of her classmates about the wonderful story, to which they responded, ‘I’d watch that!’. It was then that she decided to write a script about it.

Hi Maddie! What was it like seeing your uncle’s story come to life on screen?  

“Seeing my own film being brought to life was so moving, I cried a lot when I had to say those three magic words ‘That’s a wrap’. It was such an amazing experience to watch the actors bring it all together and the amazing crew made it all worth the stress.  

It made me realise how much writing has helped me throughout the years of dealing with things like trauma and grief. It’s all a healing process and this film has made me a stronger person.”

You decided to donate your remaining film budget to Alzheimer’s Research UK, as well as using the film’s profile to start a fundraising campaign.  

“Yes! I know families out there are still struggling with things like Alzheimer’s and I don’t want the struggle to continue. So, I thought this would be a great opportunity to raise money in my uncle’s honour.  

It’s such a difficult thing to see a loved one slowly forget who you are. Alzheimer’s is a hard-hitting subject that is also very misunderstood. So, I’m not only raising money but awareness for those who may not have the knowledge of what it’s really like. 

Thank you so much to Screen and Film School for giving me this opportunity to make this film, and a big shout out to the cast and crew involved because without them: this film wouldn’t have been such a success.” 

Screen and Film School Brighton staff were incredibly moved by Maddie’s film and we look forward to seeing more from the young filmmaker in future.  

Alzheimer’s Research UK use their donations to go deeper into the research of the disease and help struggling families during times of need. Their goal is to see a world without the harm and heartbreak of dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Donate to Maddie’s GoFundMe page here  


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