12 May 2020

Abertay Student directs movie to shed light on Scotland's drug problem

Abertay Student directs movie to shed light on Scotland's drug problem

Carla Begg with a video camera

ABOVE: Carla Begg directing Left Behind

An Abertay University student has directed a hard-hitting short film, aimed at highlighting the devastating human impact of drug-related deaths in Scotland.

Left Behind, starring Dr Who actress Seylan Baxter and The Crews actor Joe Cassidy, tells the story of a mother and father as they struggle to deal with the loss of their son.

The short movie is to premiere at the Abertay Digital Graduate Show 2020, which is being held online for the first time, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Left Behind was directed by fourth year Computer Arts student Carla Begg, who made the film to show that there is a human face and family behind every drug death statistic.

She said: “Drug deaths are a very taboo subject, and I hope that Left Behind can open up a conversation.

ABOVE: Joe Cassidy and Seylan Baxter in Left Behind


“The film looks at the subject through the eyes of the mother and father of a drug death victim – the people in his life who have been left behind after his loss.

“I wanted to show how grief can tear a family apart, or bring them together. It’s a complex situation, and a family have been left to pick up the pieces following a death that did not have to happen. 

“I was extremely fortunate to have a powerful script at my disposal by John Stuart. When I read it, the story stuck with me and I knew this was the film I wanted to make.

“I was also lucky in that the actors offered to appear in the film for free. I am incredibly grateful for this. I’m equally grateful to the production company, I know a Guy Production. They were superb.”

Carla wanted Left Behind to project the heart-breaking reality of drug deaths: “In 2018 alone, almost 1,200 lives were lost in Scotland because of drugs.

Left Behind takes a slice of this truth and puts it to the audience. But the reality is that this situation is being replicated hundreds of times across Scotland.

“It’s important to reflect on that, and I hope that people do after watching the film.”

Although Carla had produced a documentary in the past, Left Behind is the 21-year-old’s first attempt at directing something fictional.

She said: “For a variety of reasons, I only had a short window of time to work with in which the actual filming took place.

“This was a daunting prospect, but thanks to an exceptional cast and crew it was much easier than it otherwise could have been.

“I’m really proud of the end result, and I’m excited to find out what people think about the film when it is available to watch at the Abertay Digital Graduate Show.”

The Abertay Digital Graduate Show 2020 opens online at 6pm on Friday 15 May, with live talks and streams running from 7pm-8pm via Twitch at https://abertay.ac.uk/adgs

The online exhibition, which includes Left Behind, will be open until June 15.

For more information about studying Computer Arts at Abertay, visit: https://www.abertay.ac.uk/course-search/undergraduate/computer-arts/

For more information about Carla Begg, visit: https://carlabegg2011adf7.myportfolio.com/

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