Best Self

by National Youth Film Academy in London, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 1st July 2021 we successfully raised £7,210 with 143 supporters in 32 days

Best Self is a Psychological Thriller that visualises and questions the pressures of social media on young people to be perfect.

by National Youth Film Academy in London, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

With any excess money that we make for our film will go towards getting Best Self into various film festivals both nationally and internationally. We will also be giving any excess to various charities that support mental well-being and young people, these charities will be chosen at a later time in the production.

Any support you can give in bringing our vision to life will be so appreciated. You’ll be supporting the next generation of filmmakers in the UK as well as supporting a really important charitable cause.



There is a significant lack of films which attempt to show the physical and visceral impact social media has on people in the present. We have seen dystopias of what social media might mean in some future world or superficial attempts to use emojis and assume they have got to the core of the feeling of using Instagram. But these films miss the essential fact that to grow up with social media is to endure a constant judgement from forces beyond our control. 

Best Self departs from the dystopian aesthetic of films such as The Neon Demon which considers issues surrounding the beauty industries but chooses to demonise women trapped in the system rather than the advertising corporations that fuel their rivalries. Our film is also not an imitation of a Black Mirror episode; it is not set in the future but the present. I want the film to visualise the world of wellness culture on Instagram by bringing the images, soundbites and even editing techniques of the platform into the real world of the story. I will layer the film with references to popular culture as I find it generates a relatability which can often transcend generations and taste in genre. 

I have always interrogated everyday phrases to consider their more menacing undertones. This is at the core of Best Self which questions what it means to become better? A superlative like ‘best’ has at its core the implication you are not currently at that state of perfection. So, what is best? The film is structured around this interrogation or ‘unpeeling’ process, uncovering the menace and restrictiveness of social media’s definitions of perfection through the set design, costumes, editing and cinematography.


Best Self is an ensemble film which imagines the scenario of being interviewed by an Instagram algorithm. The short follows a group of young interviewees who must undergo a series of increasingly more menacing tests to show they have the potential to be moulded into an acceptable ‘best self’ to work within a nameless wellness corporation. 

It is structured around corporate wellness mantras of self improvement such as:

“Tiny Tweaks Lead to big changes”. Just as the interview candidates will undergo tests on their characters, the film itself will undergo a change, shifting generically from a bizarre comedy to a psychological thriller. The twists and increasing sense of threat is intended to keep the viewer engaged with this relatively long short and to replicate the techniques of Instagram in drawing us into an addictive rabbit hole. 

An experimental, psychological thriller which visualises the pressures of social media on young people through the universal scenario of an interview to illustrate the terror of perfectionism.




We believe in the power of film to move and inspire. Our mission is to create films that entertain and respond to the social political climate. As film is such an accessible art form, we believe it's important to tell stories that are conscious of the way they represent people, and the ever evolving world we live in. 


How do we achieve this?

We have shared leadership roles. In having two co-producers, and a collaborative creative process (see ethos point 3) we move away from the traditional hierarchical structure of a production company. Both producers are held accountable by the other as key final decisions cannot be made without deliberation, and majority agreement from other members of the production company.

Gender Equality.

How do we achieve this?

We vow to maintain an equal allocation of male and female gendered actors in our cast, and to cast non-cis gendered roles to actors who’s gender identity is representative of the character. 

We have Female identifying Producers, Director, Assistant Directors and Editor. In an industry where women make up only “21% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 100 grossing films in 2020” (Lauzen, 2021) we directly oppose this male heavy leadership structure, and present a female powerhouse of creatives. 


How do we achieve this? 

In pre-production, the cast and crew meet bi-weekly. Stories are created through conversation and improvisation with input from the whole company. We aim to recognise the expertise that every member of the company offers, drawing from the varied skill sets and range of life experience that a large creative team offers. 

Lauzen, M, M. (2021) The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top U.S. Films of 2020, pg. 1, Available at: (Accessed 22.04.21)


We are apart of the National Youth Film Academy, which is an organisation that is dedicated to supporting the next generation of young actors and filmmakers. Our cast and crew, having never met before, have come together to create a short film which will be showcased in the Odeon cinema Greenwich in October, and will then  hopefully enter Best Self into the festival circuit.

We haven't met in as a group in person due to Covid 19, but have all been working together online to make our film a success for when we do get together on set in August. As we have completed the first phase of our project, we now embark on the next phase, to raise money and awareness for our film in order to make it a reality.

Meet our Cast and Crew.


Georgie Cowan-Turner 

Georgie is an award-winning writer and director. She creates films with broad audiences in mind and the desire to dramatise the ordinary, especially the daily challenges faced by women. She is interested in visualising modern life and the issues of technology through a historical gaze; creating works which fuse popular culture and aesthetics from the past and present.

Follow Georgie here : @georgie.ct1


Annie Latham

Annie has worked as a producer and 1st AD on a variety of films in both documentary and narrative film, mainly focusing on cultural legends and personal tales, using her life and experiences living in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales as well as historical stories and cultures from around the world, bringing them to life and teaching people about different legends that may have been lost to history in an compelling and modern way. In her films she works with a variety of storytelling media including live action film, found footage along with animation, to create visually interesting stories.

Follow Annie here : @anniefrancescafilm


Katy Annand

Katy is a London based Filmmaker and Applied Arts Facilitator. She studied at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where she trained in facilitating community arts projects, and creating collaborative and devised performance. Most recently she worked as the sole film-maker on the project “South London Stories” with London Bubble Theatre Company. This project invited nine young people to share their unique experiences of growing up in South London. She is inspired by the potential for accessibility in film, and the stage it can offer for unheard/under-represented stories, with a special interest in platforming womxns voices.

Follow Katy here: @katy_aspa


Sador Zerie

Sador is a filmmaker and photographer from Birmingham currently studying filmmaking at Birmingham City University. He has worked on music videos, short and feature films and also some documentaries. He likes to explore ideas of race, identity and class through the medium of film with a strong emphasis on building complex characters. The stories he likes to tell normally don't have uplifting endings but rather a bleak one, a true repetition on how life is for some people in the real world.

Follow Sador here: @s4dor


Emi Burrows

New to the filmmaking scene, Emi is excited to be working on her first short film as an editor and co-writer for Best Self. When not building on her editing skills, she can often be found releasing her creative energy in other ways: playing the piano, drawing or hunched over a writing desk. Through her involvement in this film, she hopes to bring to the screen an essence of wackiness that will leave your head spinning.

Follow Emi here : @emi.burrows


Brandon Whelan

Brandon, age 22 is an all round creative individual with experience and passion in multiple areas within performing arts, music and film. Although Brandon’s strongest area is in composing, for our film project ‘Best Self’ he is taking on the role of script supervisor as he develops into learning more about directing and producing. Brandon aspires to create and direct his own works in the future and has already written multiple pieces for stage such as musical theatre and also pantomimes. After trialing the university lifestyle he has decided to try an alternative route that he believes is more beneficial to his personal development, so he joined the National Youth Film Academy so that he can gain all the practical knowledge, experience and connections that are essential in this industry.

Follow Brandon here : @d.jwhelan


James Dougan

James is a filmmaker and photographer from Bournemouth. In 2019, he graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Theatre and Performance studies. Although his study focused on creating research-based devised theatre, he also explored filmmaking through extra modules delivered by London Film School. James' passion for storytelling and teamwork has led him to NYFA, where he hopes to make films that challenge your own values.

Follow James here : @jamesciaran


Juliet Mmuoemenam

Juliet is a crew member from Nigeria who joined the NYFA in 2020. She is currently completing her LLB course at Queen Mary University of London. She is a passionate and hardworking individual, who performs her duties excellently. Also, she aspires to be a multi-talented producer, who assists in the creation of inspiring films which will motivate and educate people all around the world. Moreover, she is a rookie in the film industry who is eager to learn and develop her skills in filmmaking. She is very excited to work with a team of people who love films as much as she does.

Follow Juliet here: @jul.ccm


Elliott Lawton - Jules

Elliott Lawton is a 23 year old actor and writer from the county of Kent. He has worked on several stage productions throughout his career with some of the most highly regarded names in theatre. He is a 2020 graduate of Drama St Mary’s Twickenham, where he spent three years honing his craft in classical/contemporary acting under the guidance of Michael Attenborough OBE, David Grindley and Olusola Oyeleye. In 2019, he performed the principal role of Iago in an adaptation of Othello directed by Anthony Lenon as well as having also trained with the National Theatre and the Pappy Show theatre company. Elliott’s experience in front of the camera has included working with the director’s Francesco Grabriele and David Skynner, who directed a short film titled The Worst Men. Throughout 2020, he has been writing and performing a series of online comedy sketches based on lockdown/Covid 19. As someone who lives with Asperger’s syndrome, Elliott is passionate about making the arts an accessible place for those living with learning/physical disabilities, both behind the scenes and on stage/screen.

Follow Elliott here: @elliottlawton_actor


Philip Bailey - Amadeus

Philip is a born and raised country boy from south wales who stumbled into the world of film and tv by chance . Starting off on Skins and progressing into other productions such as Merlin, Dr Who and His Dark materials . Now into the eleventh year of being front of camera having played everything from sword wielding knight to sci fi monsters and serial killers, Philip continues to expand his repertoire and add too his already diverse skill base.

Find Philip here:


Georgie Dixon - Ayla

Georgie is a recent Screen Acting graduate from Chichester Conservatoire now living in London. Since graduating she has starred in’ Quiet Moments’ as the lead role of Cora. The film is going from strength to strength and has recently received the award for Best Short Film at the Sappho Film Festival. Georgie has also recently written, directed and starred in her own short film ‘Anyone but Me!’ which is currently in post production. Through the National Youth Theatre Georgie has expanded and developed her creative network and in 2020 signed with an agent. Georgie is a passionate storyteller and loves to work with other creatives to develop and explore new ideas that allow the freedom to play.

Follow Georgie here : @georgiedixon_actor


John Bristow - Neil

From Hertfordshire, John moved to London at 18 spending a year training to act for the stage and screen at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. He continued to act via livestreams and workshops with the National Youth Theatre, as well as auditioning for separate productions and performing in a fresh new play in Islington prior to joining the NYFA. Now 21, John has spent his time during the pandemic expanding his network, studying his craft, writing both scenes and poetry as well as practicing his singing. With experience studying a variety of acting practitioners over the years, from Mamet to Artaud and beyond, as well as improvisation, physical theatre, script and ensemble work, John is excited to bring what he has to the Film industry and has already learnt exponentially from his peers.

Follow John here : @john_bristow


Kelsey Adams - Avery

Kelsey is a Manchester based Actress, Singer, Model and Yogi. Since a young girl, Kelsey has starred in school theatre productions but took a keen interest in the film industry later on. With a degree from the University of Salford in Media and Performance Kelsey has a strong skill set and awareness for both on and off the camera. Her latest project was a trailer ‘blank canvas’ which she directed and produced. Kelsey has travelled overseas to model and is currently in the process of pre production for a music video. Kelsey has also written her own monologues. Outside of this, Kelsey is a devoted yogi and has a spiritual practice that she one day wishes to integrate into her work as an actress to help fellow actors in the industry.

Follow Kelsey here: @kaktalunee


Kobe Gutierrez - AJ

Emerging into the filmmaking scene, Kobe is an upcoming, London-based Actor working on his first short film alongside the National Youth Film Academy. Through his work, he hopes to rewire the norm embedded in the filmmaking industry surrounding race. He wants to explore and represent the nuances of race through his performance, and hopes that he can inspire other Asian creatives to also break the mould and creatively express themselves.

Follow Kobe here: @creativiste


Georgina Hart - Laura

Georgina is an actress, singer and model who has trained with some of the best vocal coaches and theatre companies in Europe, as well as studying internationally in Holland in collaboration with the London College Of Music (LCM). Georgina now works regularly as an actress in the film and television industry, recently working with Netflix and the BBC. In 2018, Georgina opened her own dedicated Acting studio as a way of inspiring young people to reach their full potential, she is also sole LAMDA Tutor for Emil Dale Academy. In 2020, Georgina launched her band 'The New Jazz Age' for which she is the lead vocalist.

Follow Georgina here : @georginafranceshart


Rhodri Mayer - Matty

Rhodri is a 23 year-old actor and theatre-maker from Portsmouth, Hampshire and recently graduated from the University of Winchester with a degree in Comedy: Performance and Production. He is relatively new to the world of film-making, and the film industry as a whole, but is excited to bring his background in comedy and live performance to the table. In 2020, he set up a puppetry performance company, Dodo Dramatics, who are making their debut at Brighton Fringe and Winchester Hat Fair this year.

Follow Rhodri here: @rhodrimayer


Lewis Nyanyo - Ryan

Lewis is a West Midlands based actor. In 2020 he recently graduated from The University for the Creative Arts Farnham with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Acting and Performance. He started Acting from a young age, participating in amatuer dramatics productions at his local theatre. He began training at UCA at the age of eighteen. During his three -years training, Lewis studied many practitioners such as; Chekov, Stanislavski, and Mamet. Lewis has also trained under industry professionals such as; Simon Money, Ruth Torr, Gary Pillai, Steve North and Ellie Heydon. Lewis has trained in both stage and screen acting, from Shakespeare and silent films to social realism and Verbatim.

Follow Lewis here : @lewisnyanyo


Taylor Maynard - Ivy

Taylor is a 20 year old actor and performer from Surrey. She started acting at the age of 11 and has appeared in several shows at The Theatre Royal Windsor and The Rhoda Mcgaw Woking Theatre, and in 2019 she graduated from Italia Conti where she studied Musical Theatre. After graduating, Taylor delved into screen acting and starred in a short film titled ‘9 til 5’. In 2020 Taylor joined The National Youth Film Academy and she can’t wait to begin working on this new project.

Follow Taylor here: @taylorimaynard


Our Target

Following the work of our wonderful writers and director we are trying to raise a target of £7000 to make Best Self a reality. Most of the money we raise will go straight back into producing our film, helping us to acquire better equipment and locations as well as allowing us to create more detailed sets for Best Self while also keeping the set safe and following covid filming guidelines. The money we raise will also be going towards hiring an amazing senior actor to help us bring Best Self to life, and it will also assist in providing catering for our cast and crew. 


Coming out of the pandemic creating art is still extremly challenging, knowing this we will still be following safety advice. Each member of our cast and crew before filming will have completed a certification on the covid filming guidelines. We will all be wearing PPE on set and will have access to multiple sanitising stations for both cast, crew and the equipment. 


The more you can kindly donate, the more we can invest in a wider distribution platform. For helping us to bring our film to a wider audience from film festival submissions to advertisements, we have high expectations for Best Self. With your support, we get one step closer to creating the best possible production value our film deserves.


After we have made our film in the late summer we will be putting aside a small portion of our budget to hopefully take Best Self on the festival circuit. 

Once we have finished Best Self, we will be donating to a couple charities that support mental wellbeing and young people, these charities will be chosen at a later time in the production.

Any support you can give in bringing our vision to life will be so appreciated. You’ll be supporting the next generation of filmmakers in the UK as well as supporting a really important charitable cause.


We want to say a big thank you to all you do to support Best Self, we understand that not everyone can help us through contributing to our target, so we thank everyone for how they are helping make our film a reality, from donating what possible for our target budget to helping us expand our Best Self family by following our progress through our social media and website.

We can't wait to bring you more news and updates of our progress on Best Self in the coming weeks and looking forward to showing you our final film in the August.

For more information please follow our social media and have a look at our website. If you have any further questions, please contact us and we will be happy to answer anything you need to know.

Contact Us


Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @best_self_films




This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£1 or more

Social Media Shoutout

If you want to help but can only pledge £1 we still appreciate all of your support for Best Self and we will give you a shout out on our social media. Once confirmed, we will send you information on how to get involved.

£5 or more

Feed a crew member

When pledging £5 you will feed a crew member for a day of filming.

£10 or more

Link to the final film

With this reward you will receive a link and password to the film when it is released online and you will be able to watch at your convenience.

£15 or more

0 of 50 claimed

Signed program

Signed digital program/ meet the cast+crew included in the program will be personal bios of all cast and crew and a more in-depth view of the film Best self. (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

£20 or more

3 of 30 claimed

Story Board

This reward will get you a digital personal copy of our official Best self story board signed by the Director and the Cinematographer. (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

£25 or more

Live online Event

With this reward you will receive a link to a live viewing of the film online, after the live viewing you will be able to attend a Q&A with the cast and crew where you will be able to meet and chat with the members of Best Self. You will also receive both the digital program and storyboard. (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

£30 or more

2 of 15 claimed

Sponsored Logo

By pledging £30 we will add your business logo into the credits of Best Self and you will be credited as a sponsor. (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

£35 or more

4 of 20 claimed

Signed Script

By pledging to this reward you will receive a full script signed by all cast and crew members. (INCLUDES ALL REWARDS UNDER £35 - excluding the logo) (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

£35 or more

0 of 50 claimed

Signed poster

You will receive an official poster of the Best Self Film signed by all cast and crew members. (INCLUDES ALL REWARDS UNDER £35 - excluding the logo) (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

£50 or more

3 of 30 claimed

Brand Embroidered t-shirts

With this pledge you will receive an embroidered shirt with words Best self or an abbreviation of BSF (Best Self Film) on the shirt there will be an option of a pastel pink or a black shirt with either pastel pink/ black/ red embroidery on the shirt in both male and female options. (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

£50 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Personal picture in the film

If you choose this pledge and send in a personal picture we will create an 'employee of the month /most mindful employee' picture which will be used to decorate our set during filming and after filming will be signed by the director and producers which you then will be able to keep. (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

£250 or more

3 of 10 claimed

Associate Producer

With this pledge you will be credited with an associate producer title in the film. You will also have access to an early release of the film online and a social media shout out. And the opportunity to attend our live online Q&A Also with this reward you will receive a signed poster, signed script, storyboard and a signed program of the Best Self film.

£150 or more

3 of 3 claimed

Half day on set

£150 will get you the chance to come onto the set during filming for half a day and you will be able to see Best Self being filmed - Day TBC This reward will include a shout out and a feature on our social media. Leaving the set you will receive a goody bag that will contain Best Self merchandise as well as a link access to our live Q&A. (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

£500 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Red Carpet Film Premier.

With this Pledge you will receive 2 VIP tickets to our premier night at London Odeon, in October where you will be one of the first to watch Best Self on big screen and will experience the red carpet in all its glory. You will also be named as an executive producer on the Best Self film credits. (This Pledge Also Includes the link to our Film)

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