The impact of gentrification on the lives of young people is the focus of a new film project launched in Hackney this year.
Future Hackney equips young people in the borough with cameras and technical training to document the changing landscape of Hackney.
From short films set in Pedro Boxing Club to a photo series of Hoxton locals and music videos filmed near Hackney Wick, the project explores the areas at the frontline of gentrification.
The initiative was set up by six visual artists who wanted to increase access to filmmaking for young people in the borough. After receiving funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities scheme, they launched Future Hackney and spoke to the youngsters who would be involved to determine the project’s main theme.
Donna Travis, one of the artists who set up Future Hackney, said: “The subject that most of the young people want to engage with is gentrification and change in Hackney.
“They want to look at themes such as social and ethnic cleansing, predatory investment and the impact these changes are having on existing residents.”
Corey Hall, 24, is one of the young people involved in the project and stars in the short film Take the Punch. The film is a snapshot of the life of a young boxer training at Pedro Boxing Club, a Hackney institution founded in 1929 that faced closure earlier this year due to a lack of funding.
“I played the boxer in the film alongside Jimmy Cook, who runs Pedro Boxing Club”, he said.
“I saw how film production works for real and it took a lot of late nights to make this happen. I am a regular at Pedro, it’s one of those special places still surviving. A lot of changes are going on in Hackney at the moment and the club needs support.”
Jalen Owusu, 15, is also involved in the project and filmed music videos around Hackney Wick along with other residents from the Kingsmead estate. The videos were created in collaboration with Progression Sessions, another community arts project based in Hackney.
“My music is influenced by Kojo Funds and Not3s. Working with Progression Sessions and Future Hackney encouraged me to write and cast my own music video. I loved having all the equipment available to shoot this and I’m looking into future recordings.”
Hackney Wick was specifically chosen as the backdrop for the music videos because of the dramatic changes taking place in the area, with new developments rising up next to the dilapidated warehouses and artist studios.
Donna spoke of the confidence and the technical skills that the young people taking part in the project gained including “digital technology, using moving image and still photography cameras, interviewing techniques and editing production”.
“We wanted to bring up the production values from previous community film projects and do something a bit more ambitious”, she said.
Future Hackney’s Hoxton Stories series is currently on display at Hoxton Hall until March next year. The series features street photography of Hoxton locals accompanied by short quotes about their lives.
A special screening of Take the Punch is planned to take place at Pedro Boxing Club next year.
To see some of the videos Future Hackney have produced take a look at their Instagram page: @futurehackney
Future Hackney are currently looking for people of all ages from Hackney who have something to say about gentrification and how it has affected them to appear in a future video. To get in touch with Future Hackney, email: firstname.lastname@example.org