Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Teaching assistant launches Torfaen TV channel
Torfaen TV homepage
Martha wants Torfaen TV to become a showcase for local filmmakers

A teaching assistant has launched an internet TV channel in the Gwent valleys of south Wales.

Martha Stephens from Blaenavon runs Torfaen TV in her spare time and funds it from own own pocket.

She learnt filmmaking with MONTV, a community-run internet TV channel for Monmouthshire, and is looking for people to join her new venture.

"As a resident of Torfaen I wanted to promote this area internationally and provide a local service," she said.

"As an outsider who moved into the area about eight years ago I found the landscape spectacular and the people of Torfaen warm and friendly with a strong sense of community.

"I want to share Torfaen and its people through film."

Torfaen TV features a selection of short videos Martha has made in her free time about local events and organisations, including the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway, Garn Lakes and Pontypool Carnival.

Town crier at Blaenavon World Heritage Day
Torfaen TV covers events like Blaenavon World Heritage Day

"Torfaen TV is just me at the moment," she said.

"I have no funding. I fund tape stock and travel expenses myself. I still work full-time at the school. My ambition is to eventually be able to make films and run Torfaen TV full-time.

Martha is now looking for other filmmakers and budding presenters to get involved with the project on a voluntary basis.

"It would be great to showcase the work of other Torfaen film makers," she said.

"I would like to find enthusiastic people who would like to read the news and sport and interview local people for a regular news programme.

"I want the people of Torfaen to consider the channel theirs so it is important that the presenters live in the area and understand its uniqueness.

"It would be great to make a film of the auditions - a sort of news reading talent show."

Martha helped children produce the award winning animation Mary and the Miners

Martha says the response to her work has been positive from local residents and people further afield - she says Torfaen TV has been seen by viewers in 25 countries.

"Word is spreading and I get emails from all sorts of different organisations asking to appear on Torfaen TV," she said.

"Today I was contacted by a local belly dancer who would like to appear on the channel.

"A couple of youth organisations have been in touch looking for an outlet for the films that local young people have made."

Martha, 43, still makes films for MONTV and has been involved in filmmaking with children at Cantref Primary School in Abergavenny.

Their short film Mary and the Miners won Best Animation in the 2010 First Light movie awards in March.

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