A group of aspiring filmmakers have been short-listed for a prize in the London Transport Awards.
Their film, ‘Concrete Dreams’, has been nominated for the award of ‘Most Effective Road Safety, Transport Management & Enforcement’.
The members, Ebun Lucas-Afolalu, Kasey Bishop, Lola Fashanu, Ethan May, Akin Oderinde, Chancelvy Lomeka, Mervyn Chitawuro and Reginia Richards, all from Hackney and aged between 14 and 19, wrote, produced, directed and starred in the film, designed to communicate road safety messages to the youth of Hackney.
The film follows a schoolgirl Shanice, played by Lola, 15, who is going through emotional changes in her life. After fighting with friends on a road-side, the film reaches a dramatic climax and ends with the message ‘Distractions Kill.’
The community project was initiated after the group attended ‘Making Your Message Count’ workshops in 2009, led by Hackney Council. The film was based data provided by the Department of Transport from two studies in 1996 and 2006. Both showed that a high number of Black African Caribbean people were involved in road crashes and a high proportion of these became road casualties.
Tuba Karaer, 33, Managing Director of Abbot Street Studios, who produced the film, said: “The overall aim was to explore intervention options that are likely to be effective in making road safety messages count in Hackney. We really wanted to be part of a project that gives so much back to the community.
“As a driver I have noticed, after working on this project I now drive with a different conscious. If this production has had a noticeable change in me, I would like to think that it had benefited and changed for the good many others who were involved to make this happen and therefore changed their audience in return. What a success! What can I say!”
The Council led initative, which included Hackney Road Safety Education and Training Partnership (HRSETP), Dbiz8 Training and Empowerment Consultancy, the African Caribbean Development Foundation (ACDF) and Abbot Street Studios, was funded by TfL through their ‘Injury and Inequality’ programme, which aims to reduce the ‘disproportionate number of people from deprived or Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities killed or seriously injured on London’s roads.’
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods for Hackney Council, said: “Most young people believe that death or serious injury from an accident is going to happen to someone else and is too far removed from their everyday life, so consider that the conventional road safety messages don’t apply to them.
“The feedback we’re getting from young people so far about “Concrete Dreams” is that it does make them think about changing their behaviour. If we save just one life, that’s a job well done, and it’s encouraging to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award. Even the experts think we’re doing this right!”
The film is currently being promoted using YouTube and Vimeo and is being used by teachers, road safety officers and professional bodies as a core-teaching tool in lessons on road safety.
The awards will be given out at a ceremony in west London on April 28.