The first Bolton Film Festival included a number of British and International ‘Community’ films. Entries in this category included productions made in an around Bolton by local groups and indeed the winner, ‘Anxiety – Ellis’s Story’, a powerful and thought-provoking piece about the effects of addiction, was created and produced by Mr One Million, a social enterprise delivering arts and media projects with unemployed young people in Bolton.
Other local contributions included ‘Men in Sheds’, directed by Ed Pink. Regular readers of Chai Times will be familiar with this group, which has been the focus of previous articles. The Men in Sheds project helps to address the issue of social isolation, particularly among older men. Sessions run at the Willow hey food-growing site every morning. Many of the men who attend say it has given them a new lease of life and a new sense of purpose.
‘The Scooterboys’, directed by Hannah Hull features the Bolton Roadrunners, a group of motor scooter devotees for whom the founding principles of the Mod movement is still an important part of their lives. Originally formed in June 1970, the group still meets today.. The film was created by Hannah Hull and Bobby Williams as part of the One Thousand Homes: An Artist Residency, on the Johnson Fold estate.
‘See What I See, Hear What I Hear’, directed by Robbie Nash, is a documentary starring the New Openings Self Advocacy Group. The film emphasises the importance of accessible information for people with learning difficulties and shows how some services are often not getting it right when supporting vulnerable adults.
Dramatic Action is a community group based in Bolton and comprises a diverse range of members including homeless people, asylum seekers, people with mental health issues or learning disabilities, and others who have, or have had, problems with addiction. Directed by Nicolay Armando, a student at Bolton University, and featuring members of the Dramatic Action group, ‘Addiction’ is a short film made to try to help people addicted to gambling, drugs or alcohol. The participants are all speaking of their own true experiences of addiction and the narrative also includes a perspective from family members and friends.
Tracy Moran, a Dramatic Action member who participated in the film, is still in recovery from her own addiction and believes that being part of the group has greatly helped her and other members who have had similar problems. Tracy said:
“Making this film was a very emotional experience. Talking about my own experience of addiction brought back some bad memories, but if the film helps just one person and changes their life, then it was worth it.”