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Twins' homeless film wins award
Scene from Ar y Stryd
Ar y Stryd showed young people sleeping rough
A documentary highlighting the plight of homeless people in Gwynedd has won a top television award.

Ar y Stryd (On The Street), was voted Best Regional Programme at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2003 on Tuesday.

It was made by 26 year-old twins Angharad and Sara Penrhyn Jones for Caernarfon-based production company, Ffilmiau'r Nant.

The pair, who were brought up in St Asaph and Halkyn near Mold, spent seven months following the lives of heroin addicts sleeping rough in Caernarfon and Bangor.

Sara Penrhyn Jones said she was "over the moon" with the success of the programme.

This award is a tribute to the homeless heroin addicts who allowed us to film
Film-maker Angharad Penrhyn Jones

It showed its subjects injecting themselves with heroin, sleeping rough and stealing from local shops to feed their habit.

One of those featured, Graham, who slept on a concrete pathway between two council houses in Caernarfon, died during filming.

Angharad Penrhyn Jones said that Ar y Stryd was dedicated to the homeless people they had met.

"This award is a tribute to the homeless heroin addicts who allowed us to film them over a period of seven months," she said.

Aerial photo of Caernarfon
The homeless of Caernarfon featured in the documentary

"Ar y Stryd wouldn't have been possible without their co-operation, it was their story and we dedicate this award to them."

But the sisters say they would like to see the programme lead to a political change.

"There is no point showing the devastating problems of these people if nothing changes," said Sara.

"That would be more important than winning an award."

The sisters say they were driven to investigate the subject matter after coming across one of their old friends living rough.

Devastating effect

Angharad said: "I think we had a compassionate perspective but we also learnt a lot about the homeless," she said.

"I didn't know anything about the problem before.

"People become homeless for all sorts of reasons.

Heroin syringe being prepared
Young people were shown injecting heroin

"But we decided to concentrate on people who had lost their homes as a result of heroin addiction.

"It's easy to get hold of heroin in north Wales, like anywhere else, and the effect it has on our communities can be totally devastating."

The RTS jury said they were "impressed by the winning programme's compelling intimacy and total lack of sentimentality".

They added: "The programme makers had clearly established a special trust with their contributors which in turn provided a remarkable television testimony."

Sara says she was pleasantly surprised with the public's response.

'Hard act to follow'

"I expected people to criticise these people for their way of life but that didn't happen.

"People saw the devastation of their lives and the reaction was very good."

Sara now works as a journalist for Welsh current affairs programme, Hacio, and Angharad is living in Oxford.

Although still on the look out for their next project, the sisters admit Ar y Stryd is a "hard act to follow".

The award evening held in London was a double celebration for Ffilmiau'r Nant.

Byd Pws presented by Dewi "Pws" Morris, also won them the Best Regional Presenter award.

Young fear homelessness
25 Feb 03 |  UK

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