Over the last 6 months Strong Island Media have been working on The Hampshire Forces Youth Film Festival project, partnering up with CASS Media and Evan Wilkinson. The project was funded by the MOD Community Covenant and co-ordinated by Hampshire County Council through three arts centres in Hampshire: The Ashcroft Centre in Fareham, The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre in Bordon and the Westend Centre in Aldershot. Each centre had 2 to 4 groups of young people from local schools or youth groups (in total over 100 young people were involved) and each group worked with a production company, Strong Island Media worked with four groups, Brune Park School in Gosport, Phoenix Youth Theatre in Bordon, Bedales School in Petersfield and Connaught School in Aldershot.
At the start of the project each group conducted interviews with active service personnel from either the Navy or Army (from camps and bases local to them) and from these interviews Strong Island Media worked with the young people to create short animated films. SIM helped them develop scripts, form creative ideas for using different animation techniques, help them through the animation process and also work on music, sound effects and more. In total SIM worked with each group for 12 weekly workshop sessions & also brought in some Portsmouth based artists to help the young people with their character development, including Mr Kemp, Stu Linfield and MyDogSighs.
On the 18th July there was a grand, red carpet premiere and awards ceremony at The No. 6 Cinema in Portsmouth which brought all of the groups together along with local dignitaries. The audience of almost 200 people watched all the films and the young people and groups as a whole received prizes for their hard work and creativity. The project was a huge success with the young people telling insightful stories about life in the forces showing empathy for their characters plus creativity in their story and animation skills as well as having loads of fun through the whole process.
We were very proud to see all of our groups win awards and were particularly pleased when the Phoenix Youth Theatre won the two big awards of the night, the Critics Award for best film and the People’s Choice award for best film (which was voted on the night by the audience).
The project has a website with all of the films available to watch as well as a short documentary film about the project, see below. A huge thank you to Charlotte at Hampshire County Council, the guys at CASS, Evan for working with the Connaught group and a special thank you to the groups of young people we worked with who were inspiring in their creativity.