Pitch a Film on a Friday: A Lifetime in 5 Years

Pushing through the market square, many mothers sighing, a 16 year old boy with knife in hand, blooded, hunting for somebody, pushes baskets aside, stalls, traders, horses, fruit goes flying, carcasses of meat crash to the floor. He’s pushed over and he wakes with a start: his day dream over, KEN finds himself herded out of a police van, through the front gates of HMYOI (Her Majesty’s Young Offenders Institution) St. Albans in the Home Counties in the Spring of 1972.

HMYOI St. Albans provides ‘a family for those with no family; a jail which provides a respite from the prison of normal life (according to the institutions mission statement).

1621 is Ken’s prison ID number and highlights the 5 years he’s been sentenced for, following the alleged knife attack on his step father.

1621 is the 5 year story of his progress through the penal system and his appeal against his imprisonment. It takes 5 years for us to find out whether he was guilty or not.

The stories of HMYOI St. Albans are about the stories of young people who are about to lose 5 years of their lives. But it’s not just about the usual, stereotypical things we associate with prisons: haircuts, drugs, rough diamonds, violence, solitary confinement, bullying, Dear John letters, boredom, the inanity of it all.

1621 is about friendships, moralities, justice, criminalisation, socialisation, the subterranean lives of young men locked up: the secret laws, codes of conduct, languages, allegiances, ‘otherness’, punishment, reward, the journeys through adolescence (for both teenagers and staff), the myths of childhood, of adulthood, of adolescence.

But 1621 is not only their story; the program follows the stories of staff, friends and families who converge on the prison and play out their own conflicts and dramas over a 5 year period.

1621 is not a soap played out in ‘current real time’ but has a historical perspective. It starts in 1972 and has a cut off date, 1977, which is reached 5 years after the start of the series. It is seen as a mix of ‘soap opera’, ‘faction’ and ‘fly on the wall documentary’ with a cast of professional and non-professional actors. It is played against the soundtrack of the era, opening with David Bowie’s 5 Years from Ziggy Stardust.

Pitching Your Film on a Friday

In these days of austerity, going out to the cinema is beginning to cost more than a good night out. You’ll need to be thinking about parking, candyfloss, 3D glasses, meal after and before, a few drinks in the intermission never mind the price of the seat. And then there are all those interminaable adverts to sit through!

So why not settle back, buy in a few six packs and create the film in your own head?

Pitch a Film on a Friday allows you to do exactly that. By giving you – absolutely free – a pitch for a film that hasn’t yet been made, this blog enables you to become your very own film maker, casting agent, distributor, audience and critic all rolled into one. You can even imagine your own awards ceremony!

Pitch a Film on a Friday is released every Friday (surprisingly) just in time for the weekend. Settle down, settle back, put away your credit card and throw away your parking ways: the film is in your head and its just about to begin!

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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