date and time icon Tue, 19 Mar 2024

Taking Care to the big screen: Edinburgh Napier film graduates land award success

A short film about the intertwining fortunes of two carers, which started out as a final year project for Edinburgh Napier University students, is now opening doors at festivals and award ceremonies across the country.

Care tells the story of a disheartened young Polish immigrant and an experienced Scottish lady, who strike an unlikely connection while working for a private care company.

It is based on the experiences of writer and director Jagoda Tłok, who spent time as a care worker during the pandemic. She teamed up with producer Jess Kelly to put together the production while they were completing their BA in Film at ENU.

“I wanted to create that character of someone feeling out of place in the system,” Jagoda explains. “Before I started working in care, I thought it would be a job that would make you feel better.

“So, there is a bit of disappointment when the systems in place don’t match that. Especially when it is being done for profit.

“Despite that, it also shows there are things that bond people together.”

That authenticity is clear. As well as drawing on Jagoda’s time in the job, they spoke to carers from trade union Unison while making the film.

After successfully crowdfunding its production, the team of more than 20 people shot the film in five and a half days across Edinburgh – an experience Jess describes as “joyful”.


Since being submitted as a Screen Academy Scotland graduation project, Care has been drawing industry recognition. It wasn’t long before the team discovered the final 14-minute edit would feature at that year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival – closely followed by appearances at events in Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff, and Berlin.

Award success would come next, as Care won Best Overall Film at the NAHEMI National Student Awards last month.

There could be more of that this week. It is shortlisted for the RTS Scotland Student Television Awards on Wednesday 20 March, and screening in competition at the Glasgow Short Film Festival on Sunday 23 March.

Jess says the attention has taken them by surprise. “It’s been great. It’s one of those things that took our breath away.

“We’ve had a really great run – it’s essentially on its second run now, having done festivals last year too. It feels like there’s been great momentum with it.”

“Some things open doors for you,” adds Jagoda. “You get treated more seriously if people have seen something of yours that they like.A still from the film Care showing the two main characters outside a block of flats

“People can see that your serious, that you’re not just going to make something that stays on a hard drive forever.”

The future

As Care’s success continues, Jagoda and Jess are already looking ahead. After securing funding, they recently wrapped on their next film, called Code of Conduct.

It is based in the corporate world, and touches on similar themes of workplace ethics which they explored in their final year project.

Jess says their time at ENU helped them find the roles they are most passionate about.

“You start to specialise as you go through the course. Although with Jagoda and I, we found what we liked almost from the go.

“It’s a really collaborative experience, and the passion Jagoda had for the story of Care drew me to it.

“Both of us have had momentum from it, and we’re both looking at expanding what we do. It’s been really gratifying.”

Care is screening at the Glasgow Short Film Festival this weekend, as well as the Beeston Film Festival and the Shared Visions Film Festival next month.

Care poster and stills copyright belongs to Jess Kelly.