Mayor of London, DCM and Wavemaker find antidote to youth violence in film initiative

In a bid to tackle youth violence in the UK's capital, Wavemaker, Digital Cinema Media (DCM) and the mayor of London have partnered up on a filmmaking initiative.

While London heavily features in films, a lack of diversity within the film industry means that many stories rarely get told - painting an unrealistic picture of what London is really about.

To broadcast what growing up in the capital means for a lot of people, six trailers of films created by young Londoners will screen in cinemas across London. The films capture young people's view of life in the capital, covering knife-violence, racial stereotyping and drug dealing.

The films were produced during LDN Filmmakers workshop - a free film course set up by DCM, Wavemaker and the mayor of London.

The course is designed to help young Londoners aged 15-22 - many of whom have been affected by serious youth violence - realise their potential through cinema.

The films were premiered at a screening of Blue Story - which has now been blacklisted by a number of cinema chains, following a machete fight that broke out in a cinema in Birmingham. The film, which centres on the 'postcode war' between two pals when join two rival gangs, has been accused of stimulating the violence.

The film centres on the 'postcode war' between two pals who join two rival gangs. Two cinema chains - Vue and Showcase - have now decided to withdraw the film from the show, with Odeon proclaiming that it had "a number of security measures in place" for screenings.

Wavemaker's managing partner, Gavin Laisby said that: “While Blue Story does include some violent scenes, it’s also a film about love and friendship, and it touches on important societal issues such ambition, mental health and community."

He said that it would be extremely disappointing if the actions of a small group of people detract from the message of the film, which is that violence isn’t the answer - an important and contemporary message for today’s young people.

"We hope people continue to go and watch Blue Story in cinemas and alongside it see the stories of the six engaged, creative youngsters involved in our filmmaking initiative, inspiring them to take part in similar projects themselves,” he added.

Of the campaign, 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.”

Adding to this, Laisby, commented: “The LDN Film Makers workshops are a wonderful and timely example of innovative, relevant communication. Complex and critical societal problems are rarely countered by an ‘off the shelf’ advertising solution. All too often, authority figures preach solutions to vulnerable and distrusting young Londoners.

"This project gave young people a platform to have their own experiences and showcase their unique talent. An authentic and important content solution that Wavemaker is extremely proud to be a part of.”

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