“Busy and paid” – the film industry helped transform the lives of eight young people – culminating in work this month on the Lambeth set of the new British crime thriller Legend.
Now turned peer mentors, they are encouraging the next group of young people to sign up for a week’s free film training in Vauxhall Gardens Estate, this August – from the 18th to 22nd, for 13 to 18 year olds.
Sylvia Edwards, the CEO at Creative Sparkworks, which ran the group’s course, says, “When the trainees were referred to us, none of them was in employment, education, or training. Now, I’m very happy to tell you – they are all busy and paid.”
Six of the group worked as marshals on the Legend shoot this month. Legend is about the notorious Kray twins, both of whom Tom Hardy plays. Emily Browning also stars, and it’s written and directed by Brian Helgeland who wrote L.A. Confidential.
The shoots took place at various locations in Lambeth in July, arranged by FilmFixer on behalf of Lambeth Council. Lambeth Councillor Jack Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth, praised Legend’s production team for hiring locally trained marshals.
He said, “Too often people break in to the film industry only because they have the resources to accept unpaid intern jobs to gain experience. It’s not fair on those who cannot afford to work for nothing. We at Lambeth Council will continue to work hard to connect professional film companies with local young people.
“It is very hard for young people to get a start in the film industry, you need experience to get a job. It’s catch 22. I’m pleased that our film service insists that local people are trained and employed by filmmakers using our locations. These young people now have a big name movie on their CVs, so they will be taken seriously when they apply for jobs in the future.”
Ms Edwards adds, “The key to this success was a core aim to move our trainees into paid employment. I cannot emphasise enough how important this was.
“As soon as our young people received £100 and upwards for a day’s work in the film business, that was the turning point for them. It’s what motivated them to continue working hard.”
The group of eight has formed its own production unit, is working regularly, and each one is looking forward to fresh prospects in the new academic year. These include a university place for film and business, entry to City & Guilds of London Art School, work directing three local documentary films from July to December, work filming and editing, a training programme for a youth charity, and entry to other further courses.
Ms Edwards says, “Very early on, FilmFixer arranged for filmmakers shooting in the borough to help us.”
This began with asking the makers of Kingsman: The Secret Service, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Firth, to make a donation enabling professional training and to invite trainees on set.
Ms Edwards says, “The trainers explained the realities of working your way up in the industry from the bottom. They brought along directors who had started as runners. It was very inspirational.
“There were set visits where they could see the production crew in action and there was a thorough grounding in the expectations of the profession.
“I’m not quite sure how, but now they’ve turned me into their Production Manager (on top of everything else I have to do) – although I have to say I enjoy their enthusiasm so much that I don’t mind.”
• The makers of Marvel’s Secret Service provided funding for the Calltime Company to deliver professional training. Here’s a link to the trailer for Kingsman: The Secret Service starring Colin Firth and Samuel L Jackson.
• FilmFixer manages the film service for Lambeth Council and 12 other London boroughs. In those boroughs where FilmFixer manages the film service, they run vocational training for young people, paid for by location fees. Once the training has taken place, they find entry-level jobs on film sets.
• Click here for a short video interview with two of the trainees, working as marshals on the set of Legend: Ayo Bodunrin and Lucie Ozanne.
• The trainees were referred to Creative Sparkworks through organisations including The Prince’s Trust, YMCA, Fairbridge, InterJunction and KidsCity.