As you know, last week I launched the short film I made with youth charity, Fixers, in my hometown of Croydon, where the film was also shot back in September. There was a good turnout, as we enjoyed an intimate gathering in Project B to watch the film and engage in discussions.
The reaction to the film was great, better than I could have hoped for, and it definitely seemed to get people thinking, as a lively discussion followed. In fact, people got so into the discussion that it was hard to stop it, which was a real positive for me, as I saw that I could definitely go further with this.
We spoke about the topics of sexual exploitation, various aspects of education and knife crime, amongst other things. Yet what was interesting was that we regularly came back to the need for all of the community to work together. It was a common belief that young people need to be supported and called into account for their actions by their parents and other members of their family, teachers, mentors and members of the community as a whole.
However, there was also the point that young people themselves have a lot to answer for. One individual mentioned that young people aren’t afraid of the consequences when they do wrong, while another brought up the issue of resources — they are there, but young people choose not to use them.
Just like me though, we would all like to understand why some young people do the things they do, as getting to the root of those problems would help us in addressing and solving them.
It was great to hear all of the things that people had to say and I’ve taken a lot from the launch, which will allow me to take discussions further over the course of next year, which is when the really hard work begins.
Now I’ll leave you with some words by two of the participants from the film and one of the young people who attended the launch, followed by the film itself, ‘What Would You Say?’ I hope you enjoy watching it and please share your thoughts.
“It was good to take part… It’s quite an easy procedure and really enjoyable… [I’m] glad that I participated and good to be involved. The launch was good. A lot of issues within the younger people was addressed and it was good to hear other people’s opinions about the issues out there.”
– Jemel, 17
“It was an amazing experience and I’m so happy I was able to get the opportunity to be a part of an incredible project. The words I recited in the video wasn’t a script to me, it was real life. I was struggling with unemployment and felt so lost. Those words were coming from my heart, Shaniqua couldn’t have worded it any better…
“The launch was inspiring! To see something I was a part of come alive on the big screen was a great feeling. The questions Shaniqua threw out that began the discussions were eye-opening! It was such a deep, knowledgeable, and interactive conversation. Everybody was vibing with each other, bouncing off one another and we all respected one another’s thoughts, even if we didn’t all necessarily agree.
“The launch raised some interesting and valid points. At the time of filming, I was unemployed and getting nowhere in film, which is the field I studied for. Two months later I’m now a Production Coordinator for a film company in London. It was great to have two people come up to me and ask me how I did it.”
– Nahed, 23
“The launch was good, nice small intimate turn out… The short film was inspiring. I love the monologue/poem everyone said. But it was a reminder that I think everyone needed of how society is and what we need to do to go about making it a better place. I learnt that we got work to do in our community and it starts with us wanting to make a change.”
– Giselle, 21