Yesterday a team of Citizenship Foundation staff headed off to a West end premiere of Value Life, a movie by a group of students from Gladesmore Community School to tackle the issue of gun and knife crime in London.
It was amazing to arrive at the Prince Charles cinema to be greeted by a red carpet and lots of students from the school, apart the lack paparazzi it was like every film premiere I had ever seen on TV!!
Students were clearly proud of the achievements of the small cast who had worked with a professional director and two professional actors including Lindsey Coulson (who plays Carol Jackson in Eastenders).
As we settled down in the most comfy seats in the world to watch the film, I was filled with pride and nervous energy in equal measure. Pride because the Value Life project started as a result of Youth Act training with 9 students and two teachers five years ago and here we were in the West End with professional actors and an audience of about 250 people; nervous energy because I hadn’t seen the film and I wasn’t sure what it would be like.
The film is a 20 minute short about the reality of the lives of many young people who get sucked into the gun and knife crime culture – young people who are basically good but find themselves making major adult decisions over their ego, their family, their friends with easy access to weapons.
It was really important to see how easy it was to fall into using a knife or a gun: a pushy boyfriend can talk you into holding a gun for him; anger about a stabbing can result in you wanting revenge – it was all so easy, it was all so tragic, it was all so preventable!
The students are showing the film in Wood Green on the 20th of July – if you can, book a ticket to see it!