Barnardo’s – Children in Care Filmmaking Group

I worked with Barnardo’s in 2012/13 when they were one of the partner organisations involved in Enfield’s Children in Care Council.


I came onboard the project after initial development work had been started by a visit to the young people in the group from one of Barnardo’s ambassadors, the actor Jason Flemyng. He had shown great interest in working with and supporting the care council young people in making a short film.

During the summer of 2012 I met the council and Jason to support development of their ideas for the film.

Over two days we started to flesh out an idea through discussions with the group aided by viewing short films which helped us think about what we could achieve and how we could approach the film making.

The opportunity for us all to meet up again didn’t come up until late November 2012 when I set the group a number of exploratory exercises to help them develop characters.

Over the next couple of months we met and worked more on the storyline and characters and during these sessions members of the group started to take an interest in playing specific parts in the narrative we developed. We were joined by more young people who had shown an interest in being part of the project including Sophia Mina who took on the main role of Danni when the group decided to switch the gender of the main character.

I was really concerned about how we would make all the characters work and also what we would do if someone didn’t turn up on the filming days. I felt we needed to find a way to minimise the impact of not having all the actors turn up.

I chose to tackle this was by using a documentary style of filming and telling the narrative through interviews – this meant we could film each actor separately and then piece the narrative together in the editing.

In late February 2013 we shot the film at the Alan Pullinger Centre – using the spaces inside and outside the centre to create different settings – these ranged from a youth offending team office, a foster home and the car park of a supermarket.

We were wise to go for the documentary approach as two actors did not turn up and so their roles had to be recast with whomever didn’t already have a part.

We had a lot of fun making the film. The hardest scene to film had to be a scene involving the main character throwing a rock (a plastic rock) at her friend’s window – I think it took us over half an hour to get this 3 second shot.

In late May with the help from the publicity department of Barnardos we managed to have the premier of the film at the Empire Leicester Square. The young people and their families came along and we all got to see the film on the big screen with surround sound.

Unfortunately because of child protection issues we are not able to distribute the film online.

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