Rose Youth Theatre's film Say No hopes to make it on the Film Festival circuit

Wed 05 Jul

Local schoolchildren are aiming to shake up the movie industry with a hard-hitting short film about the perils of gun crime.

Say No, which follows a troubled teen taking a gun into school, was shot as part of the Rose Youth Theatre’s summer film course run by Ciaran McConville, director of learning & participation at the Rose. 

“All of us wanted to send a message of sympathy for the victims of high school shootings – including incidents like Dunblane,” said Hinchley Wood student Rosa Armstrong. “But also, with the surprise ending, offer hope when there’s so much violence on screen and off.”

Kids from Hinchley Wood, Waldegrave, Teddington, Reeds and Tiffins schools worked as actors, production assistants and technical crew under award winning director Samuel Clemens. 

“They always say never work with children or animals,” said Clemens. “But I was surprised to see how dedicated and hard-working these kids were. They’re a credit to Kingston.”

Now Clemens, the cast and the Rose are hoping to raise £4,000 through crowdfunding site Indiegogo to send the short film to festivals across the UK – and possibly across the world. 

“All our Rose Youth Theatre projects are designed to engage young people in important issues, to give them a voice and to tell great stories,” McConville said. “The cast of Say No were particularly impassioned by the message of their film. It’s actually a great film in its own right, but I’ve also been hugely impressed by the energy they’ve given to it all in post-production. I know how much they want it to have a further life. And it really deserves to.”

Anyone can donate online – and in return receive perks from a thank you in the credits to acting workshops, free theatre tickets and even a day in a recording studio with soundtrack composer Edward White. 

With funding due to close on Sat 29 Jul, Clemens urged local residents to help, even if it’s just a small sum. 

“I had nothing like the Rose Youth Theatre when I was growing up,” he said. “Any donations would help promote local talent, raise the profile of the Rose and give a load of young people the chance to have a professional credit – a great help in getting jobs or university applications.” 

Although the Rose Youth Theatre has run the summer film course for past three years, Say No is the first short to enter the festival circuit. 

“I’m hoping this will boost awareness of the amazing talent Kingston kids have,” Clemens explained. “And maybe help boost the budget for the Rose.”

To find out more, click here.

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