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How grassroots films change views of poverty

Film is a powerful way of accelerating and effecting social change.

Like other artistic forms of storytelling, it can shine a spotlight on unjust systems, and make a compelling and memorable case for change.

One person who knows that well is Brody Salmon, a film-maker in North West England who has highlighted many of the social issues in his communities.

New storytellers from forgotten areas

Church Action on Poverty as worked with Brody twice in recent years, supporting his work on the Edgelands film and then again on the Same Boat? film in 2020, during the pandemic.

Edgelands was made by the young people involved in the Darwen Gets Hangry campaign, and explores the reality of poverty, hunger and welfare on forgotten estates.

Note, this film includes strong language from the start, and addresses issues including drug use and sexual exploitation

Brody says: “Working with CAP over the years has been both challenging and rewarding as a filmmaker. Challenging because of the reality faced by so many in this country, but rewarding because of the effects that we have seen our work have.

“From raising funds to generally raising awareness, it’s a privilege to have been a small part of CAP’s journey so far. By shooting my films on location, and with improvised dialogue from street cast actors, we have worked hard together to ensure our approach is always both accessible and meaningful.”

Same Boat? was written by Ellis Howard and directed by Brody. It was made as a result of creative workshops run by Church Action on Poverty during summer 2020, and launched during the first Challenge Poverty Week England and Wales.

Brody Salmon in Manchester
Film-maker Brody Salmon in Manchester, including beside the Marcus Rashford mural (above). All photos by Madeleine Penfold.
Brody Salmon

Brody is the November feature in Church Action on Poverty’s 2021 Dignity, Agency, Power calendar.

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