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Elthorne Estate youth worker release new anti-knife crime film

PUBLISHED: 14:50 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:53 10 May 2019

Shawdon Smith from Ambitious Academy outside St John's community centre. Picture: Ambitious Academy

Shawdon Smith from Ambitious Academy outside St John's community centre. Picture: Ambitious Academy

Archant

An Elthorne youth worker who lives yards away from the spot a teenager was stabbed in on Monday is premiering his new anti-knife crime movie this week.

Shawdon Smith and some of the kids who starred in Drawn Out. Picture: Amitious AcademyShawdon Smith and some of the kids who starred in Drawn Out. Picture: Amitious Academy

Shawdon Smith, 26, has helped produce Chance The Movie, which explores the causes and effects of youth violence in the capital from the perspective of young people.

The production follows the runaway success of Don't Get Drawn Out: a movie with nearly three million YouTube hits and a moral message about choices, which Shawdon created with the youngsters from the Elthorne Estate and surrounding area.

"Someone got stabbed right by us the other day," Shawdon told the Gazette. "There's so much going on and we decided to get together and make a film with a positive message young people can relate to. We're trying to explain things from their perspective.

"The young people [he works with] had insight into the film, talking about what could happen. We didn't do it the same way as we did Drawn Out but we did do focus groups."

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Unlike Drawn Out, Chance is set in Lewisham and doesn't feature up-and-coming movie stars from the Elthorne Estate.

But the Ambitious Academy mentor has big plans for the area. He's recently founded his own firm, Rose Gold Productions, and is already collaborating with Archway youngsters to produce a Drawn Out sequel. He hopes it will be ready to release this summer.

Islington has seen a spate of stabbings in the past week: with a 16- and 17-year-old both attacked within minutes of each other in Holloway on Monday evening, before a man in his 20s was stabbed in Blackstock Road last night. All victims are luckily in non life-threatening conditions.

"It's a lack of opportunity," said Shawdon. "And a lack of young people having aspirations. I have seen young people get involved in our films and their aspirations change. But for others, if there are not encouraged and motivated, and they haven't got mentors in their lives... they haven't really got much. We need to give them something to strive towards."

Ambitious Academy is a social enterprise offering alternative education opportunities and mentoring to young people in the Elthorne Estate.

Chance is screening at Clean Break Theatre, in Pathull Road, Kentish Town 6.15pm this evening. You can get tickets here.

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