This Michael Powell Award-winning documentary, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Penny Woolcock, charts the attempts by two warring gangs in inner city Birmingham (UK), the Burger Bar Boys and the Johnson Crew, to bring peace to their neighbourhoods.
The film follows Penny Woolcock’s Hip Hop musical, 1 Day, which depicted these postcode wars. One Mile Away was initiated by Shabba, a young man affiliated to the Johnson side who met Penny during her research for 1 Day. He saw her as neutral and as someone who had built trust on both sides. Penny agreed to get involved and introduced Shabba to Dylan Duffus – the lead actor in 1 Day and affiliated to the Burger side.
On their painstaking journey over two years, recruiting more supporters from both gangs, Shabba and Dylan get advice from Jonathan Powell, who oversaw the Good Friday Agreement in the Northern Ireland peace process, and riots erupt in Birmingham in Summer 2011, with surprising consequences.
Supported and distributed by BRITDOC Films, and co-funded by Channel 4 and Creative England, One Mile Away shows how film and the determination of ordinary people can transform entrenched social problems, whilst also being compelling, ground-breaking viewing. One Mile Away is now also a developing social enterprise, working with schools to reduce gang culture in the UK.
“A riveting portrait of the complex, contentious reality of the streets, and the courage it takes to make a difference, it could well be this year’s most important British film.”
ONE MILE AWAY – THE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
The work that Shabba and Dylan started didn’t stop with the finished film. A group of men from both the Burgers and the Johnsons have formed a social enterprise to take the message of the film into schools and to bring about change in areas around the country most affected by gang violence.
Its founders, Zimbo, Tobeijah and YT, were heavily involved in the gang life style but are now seeking another way to inspire their peers and the generation that follows them. They feel that the postcode wars are just a symptom of a larger social problem and the negative mentality of young people in their community. Their work will focus on engaging youth and gang members with the aim of stimulating a change in this mentality, which has held their communities in a state of destruction for the last twenty years.
Their work is supported by the Bertha Foundation, BRITDOC, The Prince’s Trust and a generous group of individuals who recognise how important it is for change to grow from the inside.