Inside Film began in August 2006 in HMP Wandsworth with the aim of using film as a means of creative expression and as an educational tool.
The projects begin with theoretical and practical workshops. A series of professionals and academics volunteer their time to come and talk to the students about the different areas of filmmaking (screenwriting, sound, documentary, etc).
Production groups come together, ideas are formulated and discussed, scripts written and storyboarded, films cast (again professional actors participate voluntarily) and finally, shooting commences. What follows is an exciting, intense, emotional and rewarding period as the films take shape. With shooting over, the groups begin to edit their films and lay down soundtracks. The whole process ends with screenings of the films.
One of the reasons why education often fails is because of a lack of engagement with the experiences, values and cultures of students from working class and ethnic minority backgrounds. Inside Film tries to create a space where those experiences and cultures are a valued and valid starting point for creative expression. When the students make their films, they ground them in their own experiences and use their own voices to tell their stories. The films demonstrated not just a replication or mimicking of the film and television world the students are so familiar with, but a critical engagement with it. Within a very short period of time they are able to make thoughtful and innovative films of a very high quality.
When you factor in child care and other benefits the annual cost of imprisoning a person can be as high as 50,000.
Around a quarter of all prisoners have been taken into care as a child.
Half of male prisoners, and a third of female prisoners have been excluded from school.
72% of male prisoners, and 70% of female prisoners were suffering from two or more mental disorders.
The UK has the highest rate of imprisonment in western Europe.
Over half of all prisoners are back inside within 2 years.
In 2011 Inside Film began its first project outside the prison system. The project was part of Deirdre O'Neill's Ph.D called 'Film As A Radical Pedagogic Tool'. Open Book, which is based at Goldsmith's University and aims to get socially excluded people back into education, including Higher Education, booked rooms for us at the University. The project ran for 9 months - starting with theoretical classes and workshops. As usual we had many people contributing sessions to the classes. Over the 9 months the group gradually whittled down to three people who we worked with to make a film called 'Bare Inequality' according to the philosophy of Inside Film: that film is a means to not only encourage creativity and confidence, but also and crucially, critical thinking about the world.
Deathwatch (18 mins)"]This film is set in some indeterminate future where the death penalty has been reintroduced. A group of documentary filmmakers follow the last hours of William Gibson before he is due to be executed. What makes this execution different is that William has been offered money for his family if he agrees to allow his death to be screened live on the Internet. Meanwhile his lawyer is desperately trying to get a stay of execution. This film is a tragi-comic mockumentary that deals with the contemporary issue of reality TV in a shocking and thought provoking way.
The Interview (9 mins)"]Following a car crash the driver wakes up and finds himself in a bureaucratic limbo.Slowly both we and he become aware that this is a celestial interview where the Devil and God argue over whether his soul will go to Heaven or Hell. This is a film about right and wrong and the nature of judgement and about how our past deeds come back to haunt us.
Who Am I? (7mins)"]This is an angry and passionate film that attempts to make connections between personal identity and society. The filmmakers use an unconventional approach, mixing a series of dramatic vignettes and documentary imagery and inserts. This film suggests links between international events, such as the war in Iraq, and the struggle to survive on the streets of the UK. Along the way the film poses vital questions about the way in which we all lead our lives and the choices we make.
Change (10 mins)"]A short narrative piece, this film traces the journey of one prison inmate as he comes to terms with the crime he has committed and the effect it has had on himself and those who love him. When he takes part in a rehabilitation programme in the prison, we see him addressing his drug addiction. An up-lifting tale that suggests that it is possible to change our lives.
The Wandsworth Way (16 mins)"]This documentary traces the progress of the Inside Film project through a series of interviews with the students as they grapple with the theory and the practice of filmmaking. The documentary intercuts the interviews with photography, statistics and extracts from the completed films.
Inside Film will be showing a selection of their films at the vortex film club www.vortexcinemaclub.co.uk
Times and Venue: Tuesday 11th March, 7pm
Vortex Cinema Club
15 Dartmout Road
Inside Film has three evenings at Calders’ Bookshop in September 2013. We are showing two short films made by the latest cohort of Inside Film students as well as a couple of shorts made on previous runs of the project. We are also showing Inside Film co-ordinator, Deirdre O’Neill’s documentary film about the work that Inside Film has been doing since 2006. The documentary ‘What Does This Picture Tell You?’ features interviews from former Inside Film students, educationalists and filmmakers interwoven with clips from the films students have made and the workshops Inside Film has run. The screenings will be followed by a Q&A with Deirdre and Inside Film students.
Times and Venue: Wednesday 11th September, 7pm, Friday 13th September, 7pm and Saturday 14th September, 7pm.
Calders’ bookshop is at: 51 The Cut, SE1, London, near Waterloo and Southwark tube.