A new short film will premiere at the Genesis Cinema on Friday 22 September, ahead of an educational campaign on grooming across schools and youth clubs in Tower Hamlets.
‘If Only’, written and directed by Islah Abdur-Rahman and Mazzi Cuzzi, tells the story of young people getting groomed into drug dealing, sexual exploitation and the harms of knife crime.
The film stars young people from the local community as well as professional actors and is based on real-life experiences that young people shared in workshops held with the film production crew.
Following the premiere, ‘If Only’ will be touring schools, youth clubs, and parent and resident groups to educate and raise awareness of the issues raised in the film, what to look out for, and where young people can get support.
‘If Only’, was commissioned and funded by Tower Hamlets Homes and developed in partnership with Streets of Growth, a local charity that supports young people away from harmful behaviours that lead to crime and antisocial behaviour.
Ann Otesanya, Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Homes, said:
“Grooming and gang-related offences are a scourge on our society and can lure young people into a life of crime, so it’s important to hear young people’s perspectives.
“While this film is hard-hitting, it also showcases the talent and potential of a new generation of young actors and film makers.
“Streets of Growth do incredible intervention work to break the cycle of crime and we hope this film will help to educate young people, parents and wider community in Tower Hamlets.”
Streets of Growth has a long-standing partnership with Tower Hamlets Homes, working closely with their anti-social behaviour, security and police teams to take on referrals of young people at risk, as well as street work in ASB hotspot areas.
The charity engages these young people in intervention programmes that helps them understand the effects of their behaviour on their life and the impact on local communities, and helps them with opportunities in education, training and employment.
Diane Peters, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Streets of Growth, said:
“Everyday Streets of Growth, a specialist Intervention charity works with young people, who have been exploited and subjected to trauma, harm, and violence that NO young person should experience.
“For Streets of Growth, the partnership with THH and filmmakers, Mazzi Cuzzi and Islah Rahman, to create this film has helped to shine a light on the true damage that exploitation has on young communities in Tower Hamlets; with the biggest thanks to the incredible young people who agreed to share their experiences on which the film is based.
“It is in honour of these young people and all young people that Streets of Growth will use the film to raise awareness with schools, police, parents, young people, and key policymakers to ensure that we prevent and end the harm, exploitation and grooming of young people across the communities of Tower Hamlets, East London.”
While tickets to the premier quickly sold out, you can keep up to date with information on where to watch the film by following Tower Hamlets Homes social media channels.
To find out more about the work done by Streets of Growth, visit www.streetsofgrowth.org.uk
For more information, please email email@example.com.
Notes to Editors
Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start for the film screening. The film will be followed with a Q&A and entertainment.
‘If Only’ has been:
- Commissioned by Tower Hamlets Homes
- Produced by Tower Hamlets Homes in partnership with Streets of Growth
- Written and directed by Islah Abdur-Rahman
- Director of Photography by Mazzi Cuzzi
To develop the film, Streets of Growth held a number of workshops with the film crew and young people, who shared their own personal stories to develop the story and script for the film. Young people from the local community were involved in all aspects of the film, including script development, production and post-production.