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Cycle of Change - Understanding Menopause

The seed of an idea

Our perimenopause film has been a long time in the making (even a long time for us! A typical animation film takes around 3 months to make) and it is finally finished. The film launches on Thursday 28th September, just in time for Menopause Awareness Month. This project has been a labour of love and self-discovery.

The seeds of an idea were planted six years ago, when our director Emma, then a 40-year-old woman, began to feel concerned about the approaching menopause. With myth and vague misinformation a common problem, Emma dealt with it the only way she knew how; she decided she wanted

to make a film. The aim of the film was to dispel the common ideas that menopause was just hot flushes, brain fog and periods ceasing at around 51, and help herself and others prepare for menopause.

Personal change

In the six years between idea, conception and gathering a team together Emma noticed her cycle began to slowly change. This was much earlier than common myth had her believe!

By 44, a couple of years into increased anxiety, unbearable migraines, lack of confidence, itchy skin and hair loss (head) and growth (chin), Emma had antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, tweezers, creams for skin and scalp and debilitating pins and needles.

After some research she realised that the pins and needles may not be an ominous illness, that the crying and overwhelm weren’t a breakdown; it was all a natural life transition. Perimenopause, the start of menopause had begun.

Armed with accurate knowledge and understanding, Emma felt better able to deal with perimenopause and started researching voraciously. A change in diet and alcohol consumption and a push to switch the antidepressants to HRT left her feeling much better and with a renewed ambition to make a film about menopause to help other women going through what she was.

Dream team

The stars aligned and saw Emma meet two brilliant women and menopause experts and education campaigners; Diane Danzebrink and Hazel Hayden. After sharing her idea, they jumped on board! The team came together, the search for funding escalated and by the end of 2022, ForMed Films had secured funding from the National Lottery Community fund, the Burdett Trust for Nursing, Menopause Support and Bristol Menopause.

Over 450 women took part in the perimenopause survey, where people at different stages of the menopause transition shared their concerns, experiences and advice for people approaching it.

Workshops brought women together to share where they were on their journey and to make their own menopause medals. International Women’s Day in Bristol city hall brought many more discussions and awareness raising with Ali Brown’s Cabinet of Compassion.

We’re making a movie! The process

Emma interviewed 16 people individually and 25 in group workshops, and eventually recorded 20 hours of interview and workshop discussions. The task was set! Listen and condense 20 hours of footage into a 5-minute film, with the aim to take the viewer on a journey through a common experience of the menopause transition.

As the plan for the film came together, the team grew to include eight women at different stages of menopause and two men with partners approaching the journey.

Coming soon!

This film is a small film but we hope it goes on to big things. We hope it helps many women understand this natural transition and empowers them with knowledge and appreciation of what their bodies are going through.

Our perimenopause film launches September 28th on the @MenopauseSupport Instagram page - hope to see you there! If you'd like a reminder please sign up for our newsletter.

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