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Crouch End filmmaker to screen charity documentary about brain injury survivor at Dalston’s Rio Cinema

PUBLISHED: 16:31 03 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:31 03 September 2018

Laura Stratford and Stephanie Feeney. Picture: karinabedkowska.com

Laura Stratford and Stephanie Feeney. Picture: karinabedkowska.com

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A filmmaker from Crouch End has produced a “no-holds barred” documentary about a brain injury survivor’s life-changing experience.

Laura Stratford and Stephanie Feeney. Picture: karinabedkowska.comLaura Stratford and Stephanie Feeney. Picture: karinabedkowska.com

Ex-Channing student Laura Stratford’s film Lady Lovely Lute will premiere at Dalston’s Rio Cinema on Saturday.

Made in conjunction with brain injury charity Headway East London, it follows the life of Stephanie Feeney, who was “hurled 20ft in the air like a rag doll” when she was hit by a car aged 11.

Now 35, Stephanie is a successful lute player and radio presenter. She and Laura hit it off when they met in a bar while Laura was filming at the London Fringe and Stephanie was performing.

The aim of the film is to improve people’s understanding of brain injuries and the effects they can have.

“Discussion about brain injury has improved,” said Laura. “But there’s not enough discussion on how people reintegrate, which is the whole point of the film. Life doesn’t stop after a brain injury.”

Stephanie’s near-fatal road accident in 1994 left her lying in the gutter, partially blinded in both eyes. After an air ambulance helicopter flew her to hospital, she remained in a coma for three weeks battling a brain injury.

Supported in her slow recovery by The Children’s Trust, Stephanie later met and drew inspiration from visiting patron, Elaine Paige.

“The film offers an insight into Stephanie’s world, and how she developed a love of music and the lute, a musical instrument from Shakespeare’s day, which has helped in her ongoing recovery,” said Laura.

“When I met her she was so open and talkative about it. I feel her bravery in speaking openly about her experience is breaking some of the taboos surrounding brain injury, which affects so many people.”

Around 956 patients are admitted to UK hospitals with acquired brain injury every day, according to latest statistics from Headway. That’s one every 90 seconds.

“There are thousands of people who have these brain injuries and a lot of them are children who are hit by cars when they are coming home from school,” said Stephanie. “A lot of them die, but others survive with their brain injuries. And it’s very difficult for them when they go back into society to deal with that.”

The film showing is at 1pm at the Rio Cinema in Kingsland High Street. Tickets start at £5 and can be bought here. All proceeds will go to Headway East London.

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