On the back of the success of his award-winning short film, Step Back, Enfield schoolteacher Leo Powell is filming again, using students from local secondary and primary schools in Enfield.
Backed by London’s Violence Reduction Unit, Leo Powell’s new short film, entitled Bros for Life, addresses topics such as friendships, choices, violence affecting young people, and more, and is set to be released at the end of this year.
Bros for Life, starring Aaron Thomas Ward (EastEnders) and Xavien Russell (Top Boy and Step Back), follows the lives of childhood friends, Tyrone and Shane, who after receiving their GCSE results, seek out different paths for their futures, but one dramatic encounter changes their lives forever.
In a 2019 blog, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, states that for vulnerable youths, ‘falling out of school’ was a trigger point for getting into trouble with the police or ending up in prison. ‘The children at risk need mental health support, strong relationships, and role models in the community and help for their families. They need diversionary activities after school and at weekends, and additional support with communication and life skills.’
Students from two local secondary schools and a primary school in Enfield are set to be extras in the film. In addition to this, four of these students will gain work experience by being on set every day throughout filming, and will have the opportunity to shadow production crew members.
Due to the lack of extracurricular activities in the filming industry in Enfield, many of these students would not ordinarily be involved in film-making opportunities at such a young age.
Leo, who is currently Head of Year 11 at St Ignatius College, said:
This project can help to increase the self-esteem of young people through positive role models and involvement in a short film. It will also help young people gain film-making skills, and enhance their career aspirations in the film industry. My hope is that this project goes beyond film-making to life-changing!
Lib Peck, Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, said:
Our focus is to champion the voice of young people and to take action by supporting them through education, training, employment, and investing in thousands of positive opportunities.
“A positive role model in a young person’s life is crucial – whether that’s at school, in the family or in the community. We’re really pleased to be working with Leo on this project that will tell an important story and opens up fantastic opportunities and experiences for young people.
Leo Powell is one of the UK’s leading County Lines trainers and facilitators, demonstrating a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the area of gangs, grooming, exploitation, and more. Leo has developed a comprehensive training programme that he delivers in primary and secondary schools, to organisations, churches, practitioners, parents, youth workers, and more. His work in the area of County Lines has gained huge traction, where he has been awarded funding through MOPAC (Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime), and the Mayor of London’s Young Londoner’s Fund.
Leo began working with young people in 2010 when he was first invited to become a volunteer youth leader for Jubilee Church London in Enfield. Over the years, including two years when he was a Senior Behaviour Supervisor at Chace Community School in Enfield, he has mentored, pastored, and supported numerous young people, who were experiencing a variety of school and life challenges. He has also proven himself as a positive and influential role model within both a church context and in the community of Enfield.
In 2019 he took on the role as a mentor in Feltham Youth Offenders Institute, working for the organisation Roadlight, where he worked with the most challenging, high-risk offenders in the country. Bros for Life, which will be released at the end of the year, will be produced by Leo Powell’s production company, Nineveh Productions. For more information, visit www.leopowell.co.uk
Written by: Shirley McGreal