Bedford children hit the streets to make documentary

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Over 30 children and young people from Bedford have taken part in a local film making project.

The project documents what it’s like to live in their area and overr four weekends in July, residents of Chester and Carlisle Road in Queen’s Park joined artists Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou for a series of film, animation and drawing workshops.

These were held in a specially created outdoor filmmaking space, installed on the green at the corner of the two roads.

The local residents from each road were invited to stop by, chat to the artists about what it’s like to live in their part of Bedford and take part in the project, but it was the children who jumped at the chance to make recordings, photos and films about what they liked and what they’d like to see change.

Julie Myers, one of the artists working on the project, said: “We were interested in working with local residents to produce a more intimate reflection of their thoughts and ideas.

“The children have their own view about the place they live, they see the environment very differently to adults. The children took their storytelling and turned it into filmmaking, creating sound, images and some clever special effects.”

Working from the artists’ circus style cinema tent, the children used microphones, film and a digital cameras to interview their neighbours, collect stories and record clips of each other performing.

Maria, another artists working on the project, said: “The success of the project was so much about the enthusiasm with which the children embraced the film workshops and their willingness to look at their environment in a new way.”

Two films created were showcased to friends and family at the end of July, where the children got to show off their work and everyone bought food for a picnic afterwards.

Queen’s Park Councillors Mohammad Yasin and Mohammed Masud also attended the event.

This project was made possible by National Lottery funding through Arts Council England and also supported by social housing association bpha and Bedford Borough Council. The project proved very popular and it’s hoped further projects will take place in the future.

Kim Burrows community officer at bpha, said: “bpha has many residents living in the Queens Park area and we wanted to try something different to help this community express how they feel and see their neighbourhood. We were really pleased to see so many residents get involved, especially our younger residents.”