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Barrowcliff Stories

Film-making project with the residents of the Barrowcliff Estate.

This CREATE coordinated project offered adults living on the Barrowcliff Estate the opportunity to participate in film and performance workshops and activities, leading to the production of a series of short films. The project aimed to develop community spirit and pride through the exploration of the issues and stories of local people.

Weekly filming sessions took place with Rumtree (film-makers) and in addition the residents were given use of the camera throughout the week. Participants as well as the project benefited from this position of trust with the participants gaining a quality experience and understanding of new media and digital film technology. Rumtree supported the participants to take film footage of their lives in Barrowcliff, engaging a much wider group of people (approximately 60 further residents) which contributed to the enhancement of community spirit on this Estate.

The participants took the leading role in developing the film plot and made key editorial decisions. This greatly enhanced levels of confidence and self esteem as well as developing skills in planning and project development. Members of the group assumed the roles of actors, camera and sound operators, script writing and story boarding. They each chose themes to investigate and also researched and filmed elements of life on the Barrowcliff Estate that were of particular interest to them for the documentary element of the film. This included filming about the allotments, Surestart, youth provision, litter and vandalism.

Over 25 hours of filming have taken place, involving local residents and supported by the community police team to enhance the plot of the film. Editing was ongoing throughout the project and key meetings with the participants took place throughout this procedure to enable the residents to contribute as much as possible to the editing process.

The film is an interactive DVD where the audience can choose the path the story takes at key decision points. In addition there are further options to explore the investigative films at similar decision points in the documentary.

Participant comments included:

  • "I am happy I chose to be involved"
  • "I gained knowledge of using a video camera and the process involved within making a film. Excitement of the project, filming outdoors, knowledge of Documentary filming - I loved being behind camera "..learned much more than expected...
  • "I have learnt more about my Estate".. It has been interesting and was very good experience, would love to do something else along the same lines ".I really enjoyed it."
  • "I have gained interview skills and confidence. I have now actually completed a project that I have started. I am now re-evaluating my career options."