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“I know a film can’t solve the issues of knife crime, but it can start to raise some of the right questions”

10 Feb

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As a director and filmmaker I wrote and directed a feature film that had the subject of knife crime at its heart. Literally.

The Knife That Killed Me was released by Universal Pictures in 2014. It was well received, got a 4 star review in The Times, and it was one of the top ten films of the year in the Huffington Post. It had time in cinemas and at various festivals around the world and it still has a rating of 7.2 on IMDb.

It is available to watch on Amazon Prime and iTunes and if you are old school you can still get it on DVD. The adaptation was based on the novel by Anthony McGowan which is also available.

I have seen this film in movie theatres across the world, and on one memorable occasion with over 900 young people in Rome at the film festival, where it received a standing ovation. It will be screened again the year in Norway in Harstad following our successful screening for a young audience at the Arctic Moving Image Film Festival there. You can view the trailer on IMDb.

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The reason for this renewed attention is the rapid increase in knife attacks between young people over the last few years. Now of course a film can’t give any right answers, or solve this very pressing issue, but I do believe that a piece of art can raise the right questions if framed in the right context.

There was a Guardian article by Catherine Bruton about this very topic

“why doesn’t the UK government put titles like Hate and The Knife that Killed Me on the new GCSE syllabus rather than obsessing over Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy? “No one who reads The Knife that Killed Me is ever going to carry a knife – ever. In fact, they’ll probably eat with a spoon for the rest of their lives.”

There are ways that work like this can find a way into the lives of young people. I have spent my career as a director making theatre and film in this area –  in theatres, schools, and public settings. I know that you have to start at the grass roots level and build the narratives that are appropriate for the intended audience. But it can be done. It can work. It can raise the right questions, it can get young people addressing the subject matter in their own way.

The question I always used to ask was, if the result of the work that I make means that just one person decides to not carry a knife any more – then that is potentially one less crime statistic or part of a story that leads to yet another young life lost.

And that is something I believe is worth fighting for.

If you would like to help me drop me a line Marcus@artsbeacon.uk

 

Lord of the Flies – it was 20 years ago today…

7 Sep

Hard to believe when some things pop up in your online feed, but I realised that it was 20 years ago today that I first made the theatre production of Lord of the Flies. It seems like another lifetime ago. But I just wanted to take the time out today to thank all of the actors, artists, designers and teams who helped to make this show happen over the following decade.

Library - 0680The show ran for 6 productions for the next 11 years. We gave over 960 performances in over 60 venues across the whole of the UK – and also as far afield as Bermuda, and Portugal. We were nominated for numerous awards and picked up a fair few along the way too. There were 6 casts and technical teams – but the original crashed plane design by Ali Allen and Marise Rose and the soundscape by Sandy Nuttgens were constant thoughout the whole series of productions.

It put my career on the map and certainly established Pilot Theatre as a leading touring theatre company across the UK.

Even back in 1998 – when the world was a different place, I placed innovation at the core of our work, online resources, free CD’s and DVD’s on the programmes – remember those?

It was great to make a show that made things happen. For me it enabled us to launch the careers for many emerging actors, lx designers, associate directors and stage managers.

Here is the clip for the trailer made by the video company who flew over from New York back in 1999 to make it for us. It was a video trailer for the show. This was years before YouTube was born, but we realised then the power that images, sound and vision could have that could help to develop a new era of audience and theatremakers.

Thanks to all who had a hand in helping to make this happen all those years ago

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