Using film to fight youth knife crime

This was a huge project for us, a commision from the ViolenceReduction Unit and grassroots arts charity CFY and co-produced with ModularFilms under director Luke Radford.


Going for an entirely improvised approach, and working with first-timetalent this ambitious film portrayed two timelines, one of the Kayla, thefilm’s lead, and one of a victim’s family.


The key for the success, as the film has very limited amounts ofdialogue was the expressiveness of the lead actor, Charna Samuels who playsKayla in the film. Her performance carries the whole picture, and witnessingher stoic demeanour break into the ebb and flow of emotion is mesmerisingviewing.


The two timelines needed to be handled adroitly with the audience keptin suspense as to which moment they would cross or merge, but at the same timenot leaving people confused and put off by where the story was taking them.


The director chose to street cast (casting talent throughnon-professional avenues, like open auditions or members of the community)through Stone Soup, a local alternative provision school. As members of theschool had been excluded from mainstream schools some of them have connectionswith street crime so they intuitively understood the world of the film. Thiswas important as we wanted to capture that rawness of people just beingthemselves, not even acting per se because they had never been taught how toact in the first place.


To supplement the fresh non-pro talent we had a glut of more veteranactors including Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods, Jonny Phillips who had arole in Titanic and Rupert Procter from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.