In 2015 The Big Lottery awarded our filmmaking partners Four Corners £10,000 to conduct a filmmaking pilot project with St Martins’ service users. We are now closing in on funding to develop filmmaking workshops over the next two years. The filmmaking workshops will interrogate the effect of so called ‘legal highs’ and recently banned substances which have such a devastating impact on vulnerable groups.
We are also seeking partners from the charity and not-for-profit sector to join us in this endeavour. Our potential funders have indicated that we will have a greater chance of receiving a generous grant if we widen participation by aligning with other providers of care, support and greater chances in life.
St Martins and Four Corners have gathered an advisory panel to help steer the scientific, ethical and psychological aspects of the project. The panel is chaired by Simon Gibbons, Professor of Medicinal Phytochemistry and Head of Research Department at UCL. It also includes Raymond Hill, Professor of Pharmacology at Imperial, Dr Paul Dargan, Senior Toxicologist and Clinical Director at Guys Hospital, Dr Nikki Wood, Lead Psychologist and Head of Substance Misuse at East London NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Derek Tracy, Consultant Psychiatrist and Associate Clinical Director, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.
We have had the pleasure of connecting our residents with professional film makers, working on documentaries, feature films and music videos. These have given many residents the chance to dive into the film process; with involvement in areas such as planning, writing, shooting, directing, acting and editing.
A number of residents found these filmmaking projects were an effective format in which to tell their stories, to express themselves and find a way of articulating their memories, ideas, goals and aspirations.
In May 2014, St Martins organised a premiere so that residents could screen some of the films they made over the course of the previous year. Here is an extract from one of these films.