Burnley film-maker's award-winning tale about life in care is a Facebook hit

Natasha Hibbert (second left) and her team on the set of Vacant. (s)
Natasha Hibbert (second left) and her team on the set of Vacant. (s)
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A Burnley film-maker's award-winning tale inspired by her own experience of growing up in care has become a social media hit in less than a fortnight.

Natasha Hibbert's film, Vacant, has scooped a Genesis Award and amassed around 26,000 views and 464 shares on Facebook following its release on the platform on Sunday, February 3rd.

The video has been flooded with more than 70 comments from people praising the film and calling it a powerful eye-opener.

Natasha said: "I couldn't believe the feedback. It feels brilliant and the stats creep up every single day.

"The topic no longer feels as taboo and I've been told by friends that people are using it in their lessons to teach others about the care system from a child's perspective. It's really nice that the film has been able to help in some way."

Vacant has also been viewed as far as Canada and Poland, and Natasha has sent it to several companies and social media influencers.

A still from the film Vacant, showing some of the experiences of children growing up in care. (s)

A still from the film Vacant, showing some of the experiences of children growing up in care. (s)

"I think it's had a great impact," she added. "It's my life story but I think it's grown into something more off the back of that.

"I'm quite a shy, quirky person and because a lot of people at work have seen the film, they don't pass me off as just being shy and quirky. They now know that my experience in care has shaped the things I do.

"Vacant has also opened people's eyes and shown viewers who've been through it themselves that it's OK to experiences the feelings they have. It's made them feel less alone."

The former Burnley College student dreams of one day working on huge films in America - but for now she's interesting in possibly creating "part two" of Vacant.

A still from the film showing a scene of domestic abuse. (s)

A still from the film showing a scene of domestic abuse. (s)

"The focus would be more on the adult side to show the after-life of living in care and the achievements you can go on to have," she said.

And the talented film-maker is a perfect example of success: not only has she scooped a special recognition award for Most Powerful Narrative, her tale was also nominated for five more accolades.

"I was shocked to win but it was very nice to be noticed," she said.

But it seems Natasha has an army of fans who all agree with the award judges.

Vacant, a film about life in care, has amassed around 26,000 views on Facebook. (s)

Vacant, a film about life in care, has amassed around 26,000 views on Facebook. (s)

As one Facebook user commented: "As a foster carer, this is knowledge we need to [to use to] help children all over the world, who became part of the care of another family; [I am] truly grateful for all that has been put into this film."

The film was flooded with praise following its social media release on Facebook. (s)

The film was flooded with praise following its social media release on Facebook. (s)