Chocolate Films

Posted by editor 26/11/2013 0 Comment 3138 views
chocolate films

A scene from a video made for the Science Museum

Andrew Burns visits Chocolate Films, who are helping a new generation get in touch with their creative selves. //

Creativity is a crucial learning curve for any young person. It drives a new and often untouched train of thought through an unpredictable route – and you just never know where it could lead.

This notion is at the centre of south London social enterprise Chocolate Films, which runs education and outreach programmes aiming to inspire young people from all sorts of backgrounds to voice their opinions and discover their inner creative talents.

Chocolate Films uses digital media in innovative ways to offer over 2,000 youngsters a hands-on opportunity to sample the fascinating world of filmmaking every year.

Founded as a part-time project in 2001 by co-directors Mark Currie and Rachel Wang, it now employs 10 staff and works with hundreds of schools, youth groups, museums, galleries, festivals and youth offending teams – to name but a few – to encourage individuals to express themselves through film.

For London teenager Georgina Cross, it was joining up with the Vauxhall-based production company’s education project that really opened the 16-year-old’s eyes to her inventive streak. “I never saw myself as a creative person until I got involved with Chocolate Films just over two years ago,” says sixth-form pupil Georgina.

“I had my head in books plenty but I had no idea about filming, editing or anything like that. And it’s not just the production side either, I have learned a lot of problem solving skills and about teamwork.”

Mark says: “Our goal is to make films about good people and to teach those who might not have had the opportunity to learn about and how to make digital media.”

The majority of Chocolate Films’ participants are children and young people like Southwark youngster Georgina, with tailormade kits for different age groups enabling all users to get the best out of the experience. Georgina has relished the challenge of learning about this field, something that was a completely new experience.

Mark says: “This money (from Big Issue Invest) has gone a long way for us. It’s very difficult these days for a small independent company like us to get any sort of loan – even our bank couldn’t help.”

Nigel Kershaw, Big Issue Invest CEO and chairman of The Big Issue Group, adds: “Chocolate Films couldn’t get a loan from their bank and we could help. Just shows, with a little imagination, risk and belief, what can be done to help transform people’s lives.”

Aside from education, Chocolate Films also specialises in making factual films about social, cultural and environmental issues, largely for charities and arts oganisations. The production company prides itself on developing the skills of its students but there has also been no shortage of talent offering a hand to the company, with stars including Daniel Radcliffe and Jo Brand getting involved.

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