Channel 1 Los Angeles
Six powerful films created by young Londoners based on their experiences of serious youth violence will be premiered at a special screening at Genesis Cinema in Whitechapel on Sunday.
City Hall and Digital Cinema Media (DCM) created the ‘LDN Filmmakers Project’ to enable 40 young Londoners aged 15-22 – some of whom have been directly affected by violence – to make their own short films focusing on what growing up in the capital means today.
During the week-long course, young Londoners were able to learn from industry experts about all aspects of film production, from script writing and acting, to using camera equipment and film editing, equipping them with the skills needed to pursue creative careers. The films capture young people’s views of life in the capital, tell their stories about violence and challenge negative stereotypes.
Six of the films will be shown for the first time at a screening of the movie ‘Blue Story’, created by Rapman – a rapper, producer, writer and film director from Deptford. Rapman has gained a huge following through his three-part YouTube drama, ‘Shiro’s Story’, which achieved 7.2 million views. His new movie ‘Blue Story’ tells the story of best friends from neighbouring London Boroughs who wind up on rival sides of a never-ending cycle of postcode gang war in which there are no winners … only victims.
Rapman’s work has inspired the young people taking part in the LDN Filmmakers project to create their own stories of growing up in London. Working with industry experts, they have written, directed and produced their own short films, based on the theme ‘London Needs You Alive’ and ‘Our LDN Story’.
Sunday’s premiere will be attended by 500 young people and their families, as well as figures from the film industry, and will include a Q&A session with Rapman, where youngsters will have the chance to hear from to the ‘Blue Story’ creator.
Londoners will be able to see trailers of the films when they appear as ads in cinemas across the capital from December to February, as a result of the partnership with DCM. As part of the project, GRM Daily, the most visited urban music website in the UK, has been sharing behind the scenes updates from the project, showcasing the skills the young people were learning and the inspiration behind their film stories on issues such as knife crime, relationships, careers and growing up in London.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This fantastic initiative highlights the remarkable creativity and talent of our young people and has given these Londoners the chance to tell their stories about life in the capital. It’s vital to provide opportunities for young people to choose the right path, develop skills and reach their potential. I congratulate everyone who took part for the powerful and thought-provoking work they have created and I’m delighted Londoners will be able to see the films in cinemas across the capital.”
Rapman said: There are a wealth of young filmmakers out there with stories that need to be told. Now more than ever we have a platform to get those stories out there and make people sit up and listen. These young people are the voices and filmmakers of the future.”
Myka, 15, said: “I applied for this project because I have always wanted to be an actor from the age of four and the idea of having something I created on a silver screen like the one I used to watch instantly made me apply. The idea for the film I created during the project was inspired by Rapman’s Blue Story, and was sadly made during the time when someone from Newham was unfortunately stabbed and died. This made us want to spread hope and love through our piece, and we wanted to tell everyone not to continue the circle of hate and violence but to be free from it by forgiving and loving each other as a community. We have tried to capture all these ideas so we can restore hope in the younger people of London.”
Tugce, 17, said: “I applied to take part in LDN Filmmakers as I love acting and wanted to learn more about filmmaking and this looked like a fantastic opportunity for me to grab and be able to expand my experience. The idea for the short film I created as part of the project came from all of our collective memories and experiences of how knife crime destroys hope for the youth, how our dreams are broken due to the choice to carry a knife, and how carrying a knife puts lives at risk. This was a personal and emotional story which we hope will show the reality of knife crime and help raise awareness.”
Jeremy Kolesar, Creative Director – DCM Studios, Digital Cinema Media, added: “The cinema environment offers a captivating space to engage audiences. Telling these stories on the big screen will have a powerful impact, communicating key messages and raising awareness of this serious issue to cinemagoers across the capital. We are extremely proud to be a part of this initiative.”