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Today we launch a series of films created by young people who attended a virtual documentary filmmaking workshop that we ran during the Easter holidays in partnership with Holborn Community Association facilitated by award winning filmmakers at Chocolate Films.

Ten young people aged 12 – 18 years old attended four two hour sessions where they learned the skills required to create their own films: from finding their story and filming techniques to recording sound and editing.

They produced two group films: one which explains the project and the journey the young filmmakers went on during the workshop; the second includes interviews with two of the St Mellitus organ volunteer researchers about some of the soldiers’ stories they’ve uncovered. These interviews formed the basis of the film: ‘The Stories Behind the Names’.

As well as conducting interviews, some of the young people recorded voiceovers and created and edited title sequences.

In addition to the group films, some of the young people used their new skills to produce individual films capturing their experiences of living through the pandemic.

The films had a virtual premiere screening on 12th June, which was attended by the young people and their families, the project archive researchers interviewed, and some of the living relatives of the soldiers commemorated by the organ – including two descendants in Australia!

Prue Roberts, granddaughter and grandniece of Percy and Alfred Alford, both commemorated by the organ, on seeing the films, said: “I feel it makes the stories really come alive. Also I understand a lot of this was done remotely and online, the finished result was excellent.”

Alan Edwards, great nephew of Herbert and John Edwards said: “I think the whole thing is amazing… here I am sitting in Bristol on a sunny Saturday morning, watching a film that includes my relatives, made by a community in North London. The whole thing is just totally nuts!”

Thanks to everyone involved in creating these films: the archive researchers, the young filmmakers, our project partners and the relatives of the soldiers who have so generously shared their family histories and photographs. You can watch them on our YouTube channel or on our website here.

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