'When we're with our friends, it looks like everything is okay. But we all have a different type of story. What are we hiding from our friends? What happens behind closed doors? Sometimes we feel like it's just us suffering, but none of us are alone. It's time for us to show what our reality is'.
From the makers of 'What Happened To Karen?', produced by CHIPS, distributed by Million Youth Media and showcased at the Wha'Gwan Film Festival 2021, (see WH2K? short film here), comes this hard-hitting drama short co-created with young people living in Brixton. It's a message about awareness, telling the stories no-one sees.
In this film, split into parts, we come alongside a group of school friends heading out to the beach during their summer holidays. It doesn't take long before a series of triggers draws each young person back into a silent battle they're facing in their lives.
They quickly have to face themselves in front of their peers, where they have no choice but to show vulnerability. We get to learn the truth behind the dressed-up lives of our lovely gang. Issues of faith, love, self-esteem, family, popularity and sexuality all arise in this emotional rollercoaster. With raw and compelling performances, humour, and powerful narration, you will soon see through the polished disguises of the characters' lives, and maybe even begin to open up to your own.
Both in front and behind the camera, these young people lead the way in youth filmmaking. Their story is important, quite simply because... 'That's How It Really Is'.
Your money will be used for equipment hire, insurance, crew salaries, location fees, travel (to the beach!), catering, post production costs, and ensuring the welfare of the young people while we are filming. We will also use the funds to host a film screening for the community on the Angell Town football pitch in September. Further funds will be used to submit our short into film festivals early next year.
Carlos Byles, a BRIT school graduate, has previously directed ‘Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd’ in 2017, and an original production by Carlos Byles called ‘Alice in the Underworld’ in 2018 inspired by Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. He is also delighted by the semi-original production that he did earlier last year, ‘Annie’s Coming Home’. Last year, Carlos co-directed a short film with King Caspian, called “What Happened To Karen?”, a YouTube sensation that came out in November.
Carlos believes that “age is just a number when it comes to the arts. You’re never told young to have an opinion or an idea. No voice is to quiet too be heard".
KING CASPIAN AJANI
King Cas is an artist, producer, author, mentor and advocate for young men's emotional wellbeing. He was raised in south London and the Zimbabwean born creative has been keeping busy over the past couple of years! After keeping his head down during what he dubbed his "cocoon years", he recently released a powerful short film called "What Happened To Karen?" which hit 100k views on YouTube after just 7days. He also recently completed an excitingly thought-provoking new book "Stories Boys Don't Like To Tell" which is about the experience of black boys growing up and going through various common but least spoken about phenomena.
Ajani is also the founder of an emotional aptitude program for boys and men aged 11 - 21 called Brunch Brothers. The initiative was set up as a way to promote positive emotional health, to empower them to embrace and channel their emotions positively. This intervention initiative is currently running in the educational and charitable sectors and in 2021 more mentors will be spreading the amazing work even further.
Naomi is a freelance Assistant Director in the TV and film industry, and has worked on productions for BBC, ITV, HBO, Sky and Apple TV. Growing up in south London, she has always had visions of being able to film her own projects here and her two worlds collided when she worked for CHIPS during lockdown in 2020 and the young people decided they wanted to make a film! Two months later, alongside some incredible film-makers and a good few packets of Walkers Sensations crisps, she produced her first short film 'What Happened To Karen?' which speaks into the racism and discrimination young people come across in their every day lives. She brings to this production of 'That's How It Really Is' a passion for enabling people to tell powerful stories, 10 years of industry experience, a lot of tenacity and a constant delight at how funny and insightful these young people really are.
Kamika works as a community development organiser for Christian International Peace Service (CHIPS) in Angell Town. She has been doing youth work for over 20 years and worked in schools for 15 years. She is passionate about giving opportunities to young people and she's believes that the film will provide the them with hope for a bright future, pursuing their passions and expanding their talent. She always dreams big for what they can achieve.
Last year, she became the lead youth worker and co-producer on her debut film, 'What Happened To Karen?' and was an integral part of ensuring the production functioned well and was a safe, enjoyable environment for the energetic teenagers. She is extremely well-loved by families in Brixton and is responsible for the involvement of many of the young people on the project.
Both Kamika and Naomi look forward to a time, not long from now, when they can sit down, breathe, drink prosecco and create their own production company. They are open to any name suggestions that you may have. They firmly believe that their work is successful because of the the power of faith and the power of prayer, and they are grateful to be part of a wider mission of bringing love and justice to their community.
THE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
We're thrilled to welcome Jasper to the team. Based in London, Jasper’s experiences working as a cinematographer have allowed him develop the poetic aesthetic that grants characters the room they need to reveal their inner depths on the trusted intimacy of his screen, and this is exactly what is needed to bring the stories of these young people to life. He has brought together a wonderful crew around him, and we are excited to see him bring his vision to life.
His recent work includes Bigorexia, a documentary feature, shot for Generation Iron & Netflix.
For more information on CHIPS, search www.chipspeace.org