Local actor Tim Smith has been showing his film 'Schoolboy' to pupils across Nottinghamshire, in a bid to curb the growing problem of teenagers carrying weapons.
You were driven to make your film after a tragedy, could you give a few details about what happened?
In 2002 a friend of mine died after being stabbed in the street outside his home. The devastating effect it had not only on his family and friends, but on the whole community, became a key factor in the making of Schoolboy.
Tell us a bit about your background...
I trained at the Television Workshop in Nottingham and have worked as a professional actor since my early teens. In 2005 I found myself teaching young people film making and acting. I wanted to give some of them the chance to be part of a professional film production so I set about developing Schoolboy.
My aim was to make a film that would highlight the issue of the escalating number of young people who carry weapons. My goal was to make other young people, who saw the film, question their actions and consider the possible consequences of owning both real and imitation weapons.
What happens in Schoolboy?
|Poster of 'Schoolboy'|
The film looks at the potential outcome when weapons are brought into school. The story follows Ed, Tyrone, Leanne and their classmates as they become embroiled in a dangerous classroom situation involving the use of weapons. The results are tragic.
Why do you think some youngsters carry weapons?
There's lots of reasons. It may be because they feel they need protection, because it gives them status or for a whole range of other reasons. I suppose my opinion is, if you were thinking of carrying a weapon and you gave a second's thought to the possible repercussions of doing so, you wouldn't do it. I think that's the problem. People don't think.
So many people have helped you out for free, including some established actors, why is that?
I think the real motivating factor with this project was Schoolboy's themes and objectives. Everyone who gave up their time thought the film was worthwhile and liked the script. It wasn't easy though. Altogether about 80 people were involved and it took months and months to organise.
In fact it was touch and go up to a day before filming and it nearly didn't happen at all. People can give up their time for free but cameras, lights and all the other bits and pieces don't come cheap. I was very fortunate to get some funding from the Safer South Derbyshire partnership to pay for some of these things.
In the end, it all came together quite nicely though. We managed to get a fantastic team of people working together with a huge range of experience. I find that generally people involved in film making like to help each other out if and when they can. I'm lucky to have some talented friends.
All the actor's performances are excellent. Especially Kieran Hardcastle (This is England) as Ed and Andre Squire as Tyrone. It was fantastic to have Stacy Roca (The Office) and Christopher Parker (Eastenders) involved plus all the young people who took part.
What has the response been like from the teenagers you've shown it too?
Noisy! It's funny because it's almost silent for 13 minutes then as soon as the credits come down the room erupts. I particularly like the fact it prompts such a diverse range of questions and opinions. The debate that it throws up is different every time.
How was the film greeted at the Bang Film Festival?
From what I hear it went down pretty well. Unfortunately, I couldn't be there as I was on tour in the Nottingham Playhouse production of Whisky Galore! in Liverpool. I sent some spies out on my behalf and by all accounts it was warmly received.
What's next? Do you think you'll be making more films like this?
Most definitely! There's a few new projects in the pipeline. We'll be getting Schoolboy out there first so watch this space. Speaking of which, you can see the trailer and get more info at about the film at www.myspace.com/schoolboyfilm