AN AWARD WINNING documentary film about the debilitating condition M.E is set to be shown at the Penarth Pier Pavilion cinema.

'Voices from the Shadows' has already been shown to wide acclaim as far afield as the USA, Canada and Japan, and focuses on how young people can be severely affected by the often misunderstood and extremely debilitating condition M.E.

It will be showcased at the pavilion cinema on Monday, May 12, at 2pm, as part of M.E awareness week.

After seeing the film at a conference in Bristol, Noelle Rowlands – a Penarth mother whose daughter has been severely affected by the condition for 15 years – decided to arrange the screening with the help of M.E. Support in Glamorgan (M.E.S.I.G) at Penarth’s new cinema venue to promote awareness.

"The film isn’t an easy watch, but I was very moved by the powerful message it conveyed and felt I had to do something to help spread the word," she said.

A review of the film in the Chicago Sun-Times by Scott Jordan Harris mirrored Noelle’s thoughts: “If I could make everyone in the world see just one film, this would be the film I'd choose. It's my film of the year. It'll be my film of the decade."

The film was made by Natalie Boulton and Josh Biggs, the mother and brother of a severe ME sufferer.

Natalie explains how ‘Voices from the Shadows’ was born of utter desperation.

"Having struggled for nearly 20 years to care for my daughter, I found that we were caught in a trap. Like most patients and their families I believed the medical profession had this disease in their sights and was working at a cure. With an awful shock, after attending Invest in ME and MERUK conferences, I realised that was not the case. Nothing – absolutely no biomedical research was being funded by the Medical Research Council in the UK.

"Although significant biomedical research was being done in other countries this research was just being totally ignored in the UK. The illness, which had been taken seriously, identified and studied for decades, had just disappeared off the radar.

"Nowhere in the public domain was there any sign of the terrible severity of the illness I saw driving many intelligent, creative, positive and courageous young people, into lives of devastating dependency, isolation, pain and steadily deteriorating health. Not only that, but the abuse suffered by some patients who were being harmed by professionals was going totally unrecorded and unnoticed. Patients were, and are, dying invisibly."

The film has now been translated into eight languages.

Tickets cost £4 each and are available from or M.E.S.I.G. on 02920 762347 and the pier pavilion box office on 02920 713201. Proceeds will go to biomedical research into M.E.