Member of the Mouth That Roars organisation creating an animation
Community

Woodberry Down Shorts

Words: Eleanor Flanagan Images: Joshua Fray & Sean Calitz

In Summer 2018, Woodberry Down Shorts returned with its second annual competition for young people interested in film making. The competition sets local 14-18 year olds the challenge of creating a film which is a maximum of three minutes long, set in Woodberry Down, on a subject of their choosing.

The winning piece was a joint venture from a group of local Hackney youngsters, who developed their piece through drop in programmes from the Mouth That Roars – an organisation dedicated to providing media resources and expertise for young people. This helped them gain confidence and familiarity with film making and acquire skills they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to.

With this assistance, the students created a film entitled One Sunny Day in Hackney, in which the group of teenagers travel to Woodberry Down for a festival, only to find out that they had arrived at the wrong time. This allows the boys to explore the area and in doing so marvel at the architecture, wildlife and history that they find. The film ends with the group resolving to explore unfamiliar places more often.

Both the 2017 and 2018 competitions winners chose to present Woodberry Down through the lenses of friendship and community. The winners of the 2017 competition, a group of students from Skinners Academy, created a film entitled Parallel, which captures the friendship of two Woodberry Down students with different interests and from different backgrounds. The film concludes with a written message: “Woodberry Down is a tight-knit community bound together by strong, supportive relationships, not letting anything divide us”.

The fact that both groups gravitated towards this as a theme for their work is reflective of the values that underpin Woodberry Down; the strong relationships between its residents and, as is evident in the films, its existence as a place where friendships can be formed and where the community is key. This ethos is equally strong at Mouth That Roars, as can be seen in their mission statement of “Film making by young people, for young people and the wider community”.

Woodberry Down is a tight-knit community bound together by strong, supportive relationships, not letting anything divide us

For their prize, the winners of the 2018 Woodberry Down Shorts competition took part in a series of professional animation workshops delivered by Eastside Education Trust, worth £5,000 (courtesy of Berkeley Homes). The Trust dedicates itself to “unlocking creative potential” in order to “nurture a new generation of confident, connected problem solvers equipped to build a better society”. The workshops taught the group skills which are fundamental in both digital and stop-motion animation. This included making ‘stings’, or short pieces of animation focusing on a certain technique, learning how to convey emotion in animation, making wire armatures and ultimately creating a short animation film using the skills they had learnt, complete with voice-over, sound effects and music. The workshop was a great success and the perfect opportunity for the students to develop their passion for film even further.

Through the commitment of Woodberry Down Shorts, Mouth That Roars, Eastside Educational Trust and the Woodberry Down community as a whole, the young people involved in the competition were able to gain confidence in their abilities, enjoy themselves and unlock a range of abilities which will set them in good stead for creative futures ahead.

Member of the Mouth That Roars organisation creating models for their animation
Woodberry Down Shorts
Member of the Mouth That Roars organisation shooting models for their animation piece

Parallel - 2017

Creators of the winning short 'Parallel' (2017) taking part in a filming session with Eastside
Caption: Creators of the winning short 'Parallel' (2017) taking part in a filming session with Eastside
Creators of the winning short 'Parallel' outside Eastside
Caption: Creators of the winning short 'Parallel' outside Eastside