WFC in UK story
As the situation for many young people in the UK is as tough as for their counterparts across the world, WFC has spent time working with young people in East London and the Greater Leeds area. Since 2008 WFC has run five training programmes, principally with NEETs or young people at risk of exclusion from school. During this time WFC has come to realise that these young people are lacking a voice in society and respond well to being given the chance to make films about subjects that affect their daily lives [read more]
WFC in UK story continues…
In 2008 WFC began working with young people at risk of exclusion from school in Newham Borough. The programme continued for two and a half years with WFC delivering three genres of film making training to the young students. The teenagers were at risk of exclusion due to a range of issues that included tendencies towards violence, difficulties with focused learning, family and behavioral problems. WFC was really pleased that the group remained in school during this time, and 90% went on to further education with 80% studying Media. The group was supported by renowned published-turned-poet, Felix Dennis, who sponsored the third training programme in Video Art. The young people selected poems from his latest anthology and used them as inspiration to produce backdrops for his upcoming poetry tour. The training was a great success and Felix continues to support the work of WFC
In 2010 WFC turned its attention to the marginaliased areas of Greater Leeds, working with young people of Asian extraction in the remote town of Keighley. Over the past few years young Asians, and particularly Muslims amongst them, have featured regularly in the media but rarely in their own voice. WFC’s commitment to giving marginalised young people a platform to represent themselves made this a priority for the organisation. The teenagers made three films. One was about the youth centre in which the training took place, The Keighley Association Asian Women And Children’s Centre, another was about the shopping habits of the local population and the third was about crime in the Keighley area. This last film includes the opinions of young people on how they think crime could be reduced in the area, offering subtle yet powerful insights. Contrary to popular assumptions, these young people advocate for a stronger relationship between the community and the local police.
In 2011 WFC responded to the summer unrest with a training programme that explored the causes of the recent riots. A group of 12 young people, mainly NEET and some recruited through The Prince’s Trust, developed concept ideas for four series’ that could be distributed across the web to spark a youth-led debate. Entitled What We’ve Done, the intention of the project was to identify the underlying causes of the riots and to present these in ways that would gather youth audiences across the country around a nationwide debate. The group produced four short films – first episodes – designed specifically to be interactive. The team designed and built a website for the project that surpassed all expectations. Interestingly, the conclusions arrived at by the group were the same as those identified in the report produced by The Guardian and The London School of Economics. Stage Two is timetabled to begin in May 2012.
Establishing their model in the UK even further, WFC ran a second training programme with young NEETs in May 2012, building on the findings discovered by the first. With all part 1 graduates either re-engaged in education, training, in employment or serving a prison sentence WFC recruited a new group, this time entirely through a collaboration with the Prince’s Trust. The programme expanded the online community, using Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to reach a growing number of young people. In deciding which topic to focus on, the filmmakers chose police stop and search and thanks to BBC1 Xtra, they were able to interview top artists and cult figures about the experience of being stopped and searched and how it made them feel. Through building their online community, the What We’ve Done crew met Fully Focused Community – a group of young people also using film for personal development and creative opportunity. The two groups collaborated on a Riots Anniversary event that used art, music and film to talk about the issues that matter to them. Fully Focused Community are the team behind the highly-acclaimed documentary film Riot From Wrong
Since the training, 75% of students have re-engaged with education and one is working for WFC. Replicating WFC’s South Africa model, the filmmakers are now exploring revenue opportunities for their films, working with award-winning South African producer, Tendeka Matatu, on a slate of two films: one about youth gangs and why young people join them, and the other following young offenders as they leave prison and try to re-build their lives. The training took place at The Hackney Picturehouse where WFC now has a permanent media hub for students to continue making, and to start making money from, their films.
The What We’ve Done website can be accessed at www.whatwevedone.co.uk
In 2013 WFC partnered with youth media movement, Fully Focused Community, to film young women talking about their experience with gangs. Some of the young women have been helped away from these influences by highly-acclaimed youth organisation, XLP, and the goal of the shoot was to demonstrate how important young women’s voices are in the debate about girls in gangs. WFC hopes this will be the start of a larger project in which young people use cell phone films and social media to contribute to the pool of knowledge on gangs, and to finding solutions to combat their negative impact on youth and their communities.