Sheffield-born film producer inspired to release the Biggest Little Farm in UK cinemas after Type 2 diabetes reversal

A Yorkshire-born producer inspired by her Type 2 diabetes reversal is releasing a film about healthy lifestyles and sustainable farming.

Amanda Atkins was diagnosed in 2016 with a severe form the the condition, but through the help of an online community, the 61-year-old has battled back to the best health she's enjoyed "since I was 20".

Amanda Atkins in front of the Biggest Little Farm film poster. Picture supplied by PR consultant Sally Brown.

Amanda Atkins in front of the Biggest Little Farm film poster. Picture supplied by PR consultant Sally Brown.

The Biggest Little Farm - the story of wildlife cinematographer John Chester and his wife Molly, a chef, who traded city life for 200 acres of desolate land outside of Los Angeles and "uncovered a sustainable way of living and managed to create one of the most bio-diverse farms in California" - is in UK cinemas tomorrow.

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Ms Atkins had blood tests at the doctor's after suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, was falling asleep too often and having trouble with her memory.

A return trip confirmed she had "severe" Type 2 diabetes despite years of following regular normal eating advice.

She said: "So I got home and I Googled two things: one was 'severe diabetes' and the other was 'updating your will'.

Ms Atkins with one of the film's awards. Picture supplied by PR consultant Sally Brown.

Ms Atkins with one of the film's awards. Picture supplied by PR consultant Sally Brown.

"I thought this is something that is terminal and I'm obviously in a pretty bad state."

Through online forums and a number of websites promoting low-carbohydrate eating, she won back good health.

Her journey to recovery included dietary research on three key websites and she found she was able to reverse the effects of the disease by eliminating processed carbohydrates, sugar, pasta, rice and bread and replacing those with "real food" - meat, fish, dairy, eggs and vegetables grown above ground.

"I felt, aged 59, fitter than I had done since 20," she said.

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She was so determined to get the message out about healthy eating that she set up Afinia Film and immediately started to get involved with a range of health-related documentaries.

Ms Atkins now works as a producer and distributor and The Biggest Little Farm has already won Best Original Score and Original Song in the 2019 Hollywood Music in Media Award and was nominated for seven Critics Choice Awards, winning Best Cinematography.

Legendary American chef Alice Waters has said of the film: "Mother nature has never been more inspiring. See it on the biggest screen possible."

Ms Atkins' company is currently working alongside London-based Parkland Entertainment to distribute the film across the UK and Ireland and it is due to open in Vue and Odean cinemas.

There are also plans to release the film in Malta, where her company is based.

The daughter of coal miner Arnold Fisher, Ms Atkins grew up in the Handsworth and Woodhouse areas of Sheffield and won a scholarship to Sheffield High School for girls.

Later, she took a degree in Modern History at Manchester University before embarking on a career in finance that took her all over the world, most notably as Chief Financial Officer of Alea, a Bermudan-based insurance and reinsurance group which she helped to take public.

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During her career, she also helped sponsor a number of artistic collaborations between industry and the arts, in film, theatre and music.

Retirement led her to make Provenance, an award-winning motion picture film set largely in France, written and directed by talented cinematographer, Harrogate-born Ben Hecking.

Websites used by Ms Atkins during her recovery included diabetes.co.uk, lowcarbprogram.com and dietdoctor.com.