Step Back Premier a Poignant Lesson to London’s Youth

by Olivia Hazelden-Kingdon

As a spate of attacks raged across parts of South London, leaving one person dead and at least 10 injured, Leo Powell premiered his short film, Step Back, a drama about youth violence, which has been endorsed by the Metropolitan Police. Leo Powell, the director, who is also Head of Year 10 and County Lines trainer and facilitator, hopes the film can be screened in schools around the country as an educational resource to warn young people of the life-altering repercussions of using a knife. The poignant drama has never been more relevant, as knife crime in the city’s capital has reached endemic proportions.  Describing the film, Powell has said: “I hope the film can be used as a resource up and down the country to educate young people and adults on the dangers of knife crime, and to also demonstrate the importance and power in the choices that we make.”

The film, produced by Little Drops Productions, follows the life of Marcus (played by Top Boy’s Xavien Russell), a 16-year-old boy whose life is turned upside down after he fatally stabs someone.  Other cast members of the film include: Angie Le Mar, Ange Marcel and Vanessa Sam.  Directed by Richard Kattah, Step Back comes at a pivotal point for the youth of England and Wales, where knife crime has risen to record highs since records began in 2011.

Describing the film, Detective Chief Superintendent Treena Fleming, Commander of Haringey and Enfield, said: “This video is a powerful reminder of the tragic consequences of carrying a knife – both for the victim and perpetrator. We want people to watchStep Back and understand that being involved in gangs and arming yourself with a knife quite literally ruins lives.”

The origins of Step Back are derived from Leo’s work with young people, which began in 2010. His work in the area of Country Lines has gained huge traction, and he has been awarded funding through MOPAC, and the Mayor of London’s Young Londoners Fund. In 2019, Leo took on the role of mentor in Feltham Young Offenders Institute, working for the organisation Roadlight, where he worked with the most challenging high-risk offenders in the country. This film is inspired by the work that Leo has been doing with young people, where he has told the story of Marcus at a number of sessions, and has made an impact on listeners who encouraged Leo to turn his story into a film.

“Any resource, which highlights the stark reality of knife crime and raises awareness can only be a positive, and we hope this film resonates with our youngsters and drives them to make more informed life choices,” said DCS Treena Fleming. “We will be working closely with Leo once this video is complete, to identify opportunities for the film to be used during workshops to help draw out vital conversations about knife crime. “

Step Back (2021) Crime Drama Short Film is streamed on YouTube at MYM (Million Youth Media)   At the time of publishing, the film had over 456,000 views.

If you are concerned about someone you know who may be carrying a knife, help and support are available online via KnifeFree. You can also contact the police; call Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit Fearless.

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