TWO De Montfort University Leicester graduates are hoping to change the narrative of stories told about ethnic minority groups, through the medium of film.
Economics graduate Benjamin Opoku (producer) and creative writing and film studies graduate BeBe Solabi (co-creator) are part of a group working on a film called ‘Penny Up.’
Picture: De Montfort University
The film is a coming-of-age comedy based in South East London that follows a group of high-achieving students who decide to leave their mark on their secondary school by executing a heist on the last day of year 11
It explores the ups and downs of brotherhood, parenthood, community, relationships, culture and much more.
“Viewers should expect to be taken on a wild familiar ride,” said Bebe, who credits her DMU degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies for giving her the skills to tackle this film.
“Developing a simple idea into something layered and tangible isn’t easy, it takes a lot of creativity but with that being said, it’s easy to get lost in your imagination,” she added.
The group believe the film challenges inaccurate themes that are often perpetuated in the stories told about ethnic minority communities in films.
They are taking power into their own hands by raising money through a Kickstarter campaign, which has raised more than £3,000 of their £13,000 goal.
“I think our project is important because the way people have told stories about where we’re from, what we’ve experienced and what we’ve gone through has always seemed one-dimensional to me,” explained Tomi Okeowo, the film’s director.
“In the past, stories from our demographic have been marginalised,” added Fola Abatan, its director of photography.
“The stories that do make it to production tend to portray us in one light and we hope to break that trend with this film.”
Benjamin, who is also an Assistant Producer at global advertising agency BBH in London, said that access is a “huge barricade” for members of the group’s ethnic background.
“Once this obstacle is overcome, we have the possibility to scale up the project to the industry standard,” he added.
“Technical execution is key to the creative and for us to get the best visual out of the script, so our Kickstarter will enable us to invest in creative specialists, high quality camera equipment and great locations.”
To find out more about ‘Penny Up’, or to help with the film’s Kickstart campaign, visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theunitprod/penny-up