After staying up all night editing yesterday (or should I say rendering…), we finally have the provisional version of our documentary!
Initially, the topic we chose for the short film was about social exclusion. As an oversea student for seven years myself, it was really difficult to explain my feelings when I watched the video of that Malaysian student being mugged and beaten by two groups of rioters consecutively. Nowadays everyone is trying to deny the fact that there still are social classes, minorities and other marginalized groups in this seemingly modern world, but indeed they are everywhere. And as both of our interviewees said, they have always been suffering unheard. Therefore, we wanted to dig deeper into the causes of social exclusion and how it affected the riots in general.
To put this short documentary film in shape, all of us made a lot of effort. We went from places that were most suffered in the riots such as Brixton and Tottenham, to posh areas such as High Street Kensington and Chelsea where we experienced a completely different atmosphere. It was also a long yet memorable experience for us to shoot the interviews for the two interviewees we found. We interviewed my friend Jess, who is a postgraduate psychology student at UCL, as we wish to give a psychological explanation on the forming of social exclusion. Through the interview, we addressed a major issue we wanted to be more focused on which is the recent changes to UK’s education system due to government austerity. The fact that the government raised the tuition fees of the home students was a huge move last year. At UCL, students protested and painted “Education is not a commodity” everywhere visible in the university. Thinking about the barriers it built up for many A-level students across the country while the chances of losing their future prospects becomes bigger, it is then easy to see where the anger comes from. Also, technician wise, we found the camera we used had some problems with syncing its sound speed with images. For that we received a great amount of help from Tivona’s friends with a professional camera and independent sound recording process.
As the first guy Ingrid found who wanted to join the riot cancelled our interview, we had to find an alternative route. Luckily Ingrid found Ephraim through YouTube, an A-level student who wrote poems about the London riots. To interview him we had to take a train to go to Peterborough. The journey was particularly interesting when the taxi driver told us the address does not exist…We then thought Ephraim, who by then was still a virtual figure exists only on the internet, might have intentionally given us a wrong address and instead Johanna suggested we should make a documentary of the journey to find a guy on YouTube . Turns out the taxi driver was wrong and we found him! Although he was really shy, he talked about many interesting points from a fresh angle. The fact that he is going to university next year and his age was similar to the majority of the rioters made his perspective especially valuable.
At the end of the interview Ephraim played guitar and sang a Bob Dylan song for us, which we all found really sweet. It is interesting how social media technology can sometimes be so evil that all people accuses it as the accelerator of the riots, but in our case, so amazing as it brings someone you would never have met in life reachable to you.