Sex Ed' Videos? You're 'Avin a Laugh!
24 April 2012
Festival Success for Comedy Films
LOCO LONDON is the UK’s only comedy feature film festival lightening up London in the most miserable month of the year. The festival champions the craft of comedy film-making through training, screenings, outreach and funding. kickstarting the next generation of British-based comedy film-makers.
The films were made by young people aged 11-17 from the south-west who took part in a First Light project co-ordinated by My Pockets. As part of the project, they produced 6 90-second comedy shorts based around sex education.
My Pockets worked closely with Compass Pupil Referral Unit and the Switch Community Project to recruit participants from hard-to-reach groups such as young offenders, young people excluded from formal education, young people in care, and those from economically disadvantaged or rural areas. None of the participants had been given the opportunity to make a film before.
They young people wanted to make comedies about sex and relationships as they felt that this was a subject that dominated their lives but that was not covered accurately in the media. They decided that making a film that was too serious would put others off watching and not represent how they talked about it amongst themselves.
However, the young people were uncomfortable about acting or appearing on camera talking about sex and felt that puppets would be ideal for helping them to express themselves confidently, in addition to providing the all-important element of humour.
The young people made their own puppets, many based on representations of themselves and of friends, using sculpting, drawing and sewing.
The participants were supported by professionals to gain hands-on experience and technical knowledge of making a film, but mentors also commented that confidence increased and team-working skills were greatly developed.
“Many of the young people who benefited most from the project do not excel in academic subjects. The project allowed them to find new talents and new value in areas that they knew nothing of before” Project Co-ordinator Peter Snelling
The project also had wider and more far-reaching implications as prior to the experience several of the young people were engaging in sexual activity that was potentially harmful to themselves and to others. During the filmmaking process these individuals began talking about their behaviour and coming to realisations about the consequences of their actions. Some of the young people commented that it was easier and more natural to talk about such issues in this setting, rather than in formal sex education classes.
The young participants attended a screening of their films alongside friends and family. The realisation that their films were genuinely funny gave them a sense of achievement and pride, and at least half of the young people involved have expressed an interest in making further films. Some of the participants have even asked My Pockets to help them gain work experience in the field.
“I have really enjoyed this project more than I thought I would. It’s helped me learn new skills that I am proud of.” Participant, 15
Leigh Thomas, First Light CEO says:
“Using humour and props such as puppets can enable young people to address serious issues that they would not otherwise feel comfortable talking about. This project is a prime example of that. The young people have created something both funny and creative, which has allowed them to express themselves and learn some important lessons along the way.”