"It is a picture of our times."
"With initial funding of £5,000 from Britdoc and £10,000 from Barrow Cadbury (the Cadbury’s Foundation) Woolcock and her assistant moved into a convent in Birmingham where they stayed free of charge, on and off, for the next 18 months. Working from an office in a neutral part of the city centre, Thompson and Duffus tried to push their message, but were continually knocked back." - Telegraph
One Mile Away
One Mile Away is directed by award-winning filmmaker Penny Woolcock and charts the attempts by two warring gangs in inner city Birmingham, the Burger Bar Boys (B21) and the Johnson Crew (B6), to bring peace to their neighbourhoods.
"A riveting portrait of the complex, contentious reality of the streets, and the courage it takes to make a difference, it could well be this year’s most important British film"- Time Out
This is the second film that Penny Woolcock has made in Birmingham, following her Hip Hop musical 1 Day, which depicted these postcode wars. One Mile Away was initiated by Shabba, a young man affiliated to the Johnson side who met Penny during the making of 1 Day. He saw her as neutral and as someone who had built trust on both sides. Penny agreed to get involved and introduced Shabba to Dylan Duffus – the lead actor in 1 Day and affiliated to the Burger side. The film follows their painstaking journey over two years to recruit more supporters from both sides. Along the way, they get advice from Jonathan Powell, who oversaw the Good Friday Agreement, and the riots erupt in Birmingham, with surprising consequences.
The work that Shabba, Dylan and Penny started didn’t stop with the finished film. A group of men from both the Burgers and the Johnsons have formed a social enterprise to take the message of the film into schools and to bring about change in areas around the country most affected by gang violence.
Its founders, Zimbo and YT, were both heavily involved in the gang life style but are now seeking another way to inspire their peers and the generation that follows them. They feel that the postcode wars are just a symptom of a larger social problem and the negative mentality of young people in their community. Their work will focus on engaging youth and gang members with the aim of stimulating a change in this mentality, which has held their communities in a state of destruction for the last twenty years.
Their work is supported by the Bertha Foundation, BRITDOC and a generous group of individuals who recognise how important it is for change to grow from the inside.
They are currently piloting their programme in schools around the country.
LINKS TO ONE MILE AWAY
Penny Woolcock is a British filmmaker, opera director, and screenwriter. She was raised in a British community in Montevideo, speaking English and going to English schools.
What I have Learnt
I have learnt that Independent Films are completely different to Mainstream Films because they do not have as much 'hype'. Also Independent Films do not have much funding to promote the film more. Hence why the film is only being shown for a maximum of 21 days. Mainstream films such as 'Skyfall' are able to promote and get a huge fanbase. As for One Mile Away not much has been said - this could however change but that depends on whether people are able to relate and reach out to One Mile Away. This film is directed at a particular social group, One Mile Away does not have much hype however word of mouth may change this - compared to Skyfall - One Mile Away are way below fame. The main promotion for this film is social media - also the film only costs £3 to see it. This says a lot about the film promotion wise.