Jelly Brain

6 April 2018


Jelly BrainWhen alumnus Kieran Nolan Jones (BA Hons English and Film and Television 2014) left NTU he went on to study film production at the National Film and Television School. Whilst studying there, he began work on a film, combining live action and animation, to tell his mother’s moving story. 

In December 2015, Kieran’s mum, Debra, fell down a flight of stairs and sustained a traumatic brain injury, with a devastating impact on her physical and mental health. Kieran’s film Jelly Brain is about her personal voyage as she learns to live with the implications of her injury, remembering who she used to be, and discovering her new self as a person and a mother. 

Kieran with his mum DebraThe film is currently in production and once released, the plan is to enter international film festivals and tour local cinemas, raising awareness of brain injury and brain injury charities, such as Headway. Jelly Brain Director, Kate Stonehill, who was recently shortlisted for a Grierson Award, was enthusiastic about working with Kieran and Debra: “To me, much of the film is about how Debra is adjusting to a new reality – and a new brain – so I’m excited to try and bring to life her subjective experience in a visually dynamic way.”

Kieran has named his new production company Jelly Brain Films. He has previously produced commercials for Stella McCartney and a wide range of films. Jelly Brain is his most personal work to date. He said: “In a spilt second, this created a whole new person for me and my family to contend with. I hope the film can raise awareness around the harsh realities for sufferers and their families. 

“My overall aim for the documentary is to demonstrate that the love and support from family members and friends ultimately will prevail. I also hope the process of making the documentary will mean my mother is able to treasure the different, but no less beautiful, person that she is now.”

Alongside the film, which is a mixture of live action and animation, Kieran also plans a Virtual Reality experience, to help audiences understand the experience of living with a brain injury. This will be part of the film’s tour of worldwide festivals and cinemas. 

Kieran is in no doubt how valuable his time at NTU was: “It was life defining. Studying in such a nurturing, open and sophisticated learning environment allowed me to ponder who I was as a person and empowered me to gain the confidence to pursue my postgraduate study and career ambitions. I will always look back fondly on my time at NTU and, for the life experience and knowledge I gained, I will be eternally grateful.”


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