Young filmmakers passionate for social justice shines at the Into Film Awards

The annual Into Film Awards are a showcase for the UK’s next generation of filmmaking talent, and this year’s nominations tackle a range of issues.

Education charity Into Film have been offering a pathway for young people to break into the film industry since their inception in 2013, rewarding the best at their annual Into Film Awards.

Across documentary, animation and genre-aping shorts, the nominated films show that young filmmakers are asking questions about the world around them, and telling stories from and about marginalised communities.

Nominated in the Best Documentary category is 1 Year from Merseyside filmmaker Ben Hodge. Taking the form of a letter to Ben’s younger self, it charts their transition to be the person they are, and their first year on testosterone.

From Hackney, filmmaking group Mouth That Roars are nominated for their ten minute short Inside of Me, in which a black teenager analyses his modern London lifestyle and African heritage, trying to coalesce the two to cement his own identity.

In the Best Animation category is Overload, from Joe Blandamer. The stop-motion film describes the feeling of having autism and riding on a busy train, with Joe saying he wanted to make the film to “raise awareness for people on the spectrum and share my own story of having Asperger’s.”

Much of the charity’s activity is focused on in-school and after-school clubs for film watching and making. One of this year’s Film Club of the Year nominees, Drelincourt Primary School in Northern Ireland, has been running since 2014 having been introduced to the charity through Northern Ireland’s Extended Schools Programme, which provides funding for schools serving disadvantaged communities to offer activities beyond the school day, and to serve the wider community. For Drelincourt, which numbers just 20 pupils, 80 per cent of whom speak English as an additional language, the club has become crucial for promoting inclusivity and diversity. Pupils come from Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Bulgaria and Poland, as well as Northern Ireland, with club leader Sharon Walker saying “film has the power to unite them.”

Also nominated for Film Club of the Year are Dunn Street Primary in Jarrow, a very economically deprived area in the North East of England where for many students a cinema trip is prohibitively expensive.  To combat this, the club raised money through running a tuck shop and hosting a whole school Oscars Party to fund transport to and from screenings at Into Film’s annual Into Film Festival, which takes place across three weeks in November – for more than half of the children in the school, this was their first experience of going to cinema, and for many their first experience travelling on public transport.

The awards also recognize those who are taking what they’ve learnt through Into Film and applying it to their wider community, such as duo Leoreta Ratkoceri and Mahek Haque from Westminster Academy, nominated in the Ones To Watch category. As well as running their own film club, a film production club to teach editing skills, and taking their first steps into the industry themselves, they are organising this year’s youngPower conference in London, bringing together secondary and further education students from across London to explore issues of power, prejudice, and privilege, and to discuss how to take meaningful community action.

The awards take place on March 18 2020 at the ODEON Luxe Leicester Square