During the Easter holidays in 2021, in partnership with Holborn Community Association, we ran a virtual documentary filmmaking workshop with award-winning filmmakers from Chocolate Films for young people aged 12 – 18 years old. Our workshop combined learning about filmmaking with engaging with the history of the people linked to the St Mellitus First World War memorial organ. We wanted to empower the young people to tell their own stories through film whilst also gaining an insight into the people commemorated by the organ.
Over the four sessions we covered the process of filmmaking and the skills required to create their own films: from finding their story and filming techniques to recording sound and editing. We were also fortunate enough to be able to interview two of the St Mellitus organ volunteer researchers about some of the soldiers’ stories they have uncovered. These interviews formed the basis of our group film: ‘The Stories Behind the Names’.
A second group film, ‘Bringing History to Life’ explains the project and the journey that the young people went on during the workshop.
Finally some of the young people recorded voiceovers and created and edited title sequences for the group films.
In addition to the group films, some of the young people, inspired by universal themes of love, isolation, fear, fun and courage, filmed and edited their own individual documentaries to capture their experiences of living through the pandemic. Perhaps in one hundred years time future generations will watch these films to better understand this historic moment in time, in the same way the young documentary makers explored the stories of the men commemorated by the organ and learned more about the First World War?