Kids pitch their own film ideas in ‘Dragon’s Den’

School children from seven local primary and secondary schools pitched their ideas for a short film to industry ‘dragons’.

They were given a brief to create a film idea around the theme of “A Heroes Journey” and worked on the project over a period of two months with their teachers.  Each group of children created a proposal for a short film and were shortlisted by their schools to have the opportunity to pitch in the ‘Den’.

The seven student production teams prepared pitches for four film and TV industry ‘dragons’ and pitched in the funky warehouse event space, MAKE IT Barking.

The amazing prize on offer was for one primary school and one secondary to have their films produced by a professional film maker.

The event was organised by Barking and Dagenham Council’s Inspiring Futures team and Film Barking & Dagenham’s Make It Here Programme, supported by Eastbrook Studios.

The film dragons were:

  • CBeebies presenter, TV Presenter and documentary maker, Aaron Roach Bridgeman.
  • Director/Writer, Yasmin Godo.
  • Director of film company Wild Indie Gavin Saville
  • Sector Lead for Film & Creative Industries, Film Barking and Dagenham, Anna Wilson.

A large group of Parsloes Primary School crammed the stage to present their ideas “Futureheroes” in which three average kids get superpowers to make the world a better place in regard to the environment, safety and health. They created their own trailer, impressing the judges with their creativity.

Twins Davina and Isabella Kashumbugulu, 9, were part of the Parsloes Primary School, team. Davina said, “I was shocked that we were chosen to do the pitch.” She explained that they were chosen from eight different year 5 groups and the input of all the children in year 5 was taken into account and incorporated into the pitch. When asked whether she thought they had a chance of winning, her twin sister Isabella said, “Yes, I have a gut feeling that we could win.”  Classmate Gabriella Gbedavo, 9 was excited: “This is a wonderful opportunity. If we win, it would be amazing to have all year 5’s ideas in a movie.”

The seven schools presented a myriad of creative film ideas, including: “A Capeless Hero” by Robert Clack Secondary School, “The Missing Child” by Eastbrook Primary and “Dungeons and Dragons” by Eastbrook Secondary.

The judges and guests were enthralled by the variety of ideas and presentation styles; they even enjoyed a specially composed original soundtrack and rap by Beam Primary. Each of the groups presented storyboards and digital presentations containing the USPs of their idea, and the budget required to create it. They also explained which of them was taking on which role e.g. director, cameraperson, wardrobe director and actor.

Dagenham Park CofE School students Steve Awoyemi and Kelvin Osei, both 13, had the idea to do a thriller based in Dagenham with the protagonist a teenager who drinks a magical drink. Kelvin ended the pitch by thanking his teachers Mr Elliot and Miss Lewis for the “Awesome opportunity”.  After the pitch, Steve commented, “It was actually quite easy, as I was up on stage with my friend”.

Marsh Green Primary student Hafsa Uddin, whose team did “The Adventures of Kaci and Kyla”, said the pitch was: “Really good. I have wished that I would be up on stage since I was little.”

Beam Primary pitched “A Hero’s Journey” about Luca, a spoilt rich boy. Classmates Ethan Gbadamosi, Zion Mtutu, Nadia Backry and Sienna Mckenzie all agreed it was “nerve-wracking” but once they were up on stage together, it “felt good”.

Aaron Roach Bridgeman told the children: “I am very impressed, not just with your presentations, but with you and your ideas, which are fantastic. We are sitting amongst some future heroes!”

Ilford-born, Gavin Saville, encouraged the students, saying: “You can do this. There is a great opportunity, as loads of film studios are being built locally. You don’t need special kit to get started, you just need to start doing it with your smartphone.”

Yasmin Godo inspired the youngsters by explaining how she has made it to where she is now, saying: “What jumped out to me was how I can see future producers, production managers, presenters and myriad of future professionals that work in film and TV.”

The winners were announced as Marsh Green Primary and Dagenham Park CofE School. The films will be created during May with the help of professional filmmaker Harry Isherwood of Tommo Media and will be ‘premiered’ to the children, their families, teachers, and VIPs later in June at the Vue Cinema, Dagenham.

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