Film project could be a real lifesaver

Film Oxford’s Geron Swann

Film Oxford’s Geron Swann

First published in News

A FILM inspired by the death of a 15-year-old boy is hoping to get funding from a new grant scheme.

Oxford-based film and digital media centre, Film Oxford, in Catherine Street, is seeking cash for its youth project, River Safe.

The idea was generated by Digital Youth, a group of 15 Oxfordshire teenagers who meet each Wednesday at the Film Oxford centre. The team, aged between 14 and 19, were inspired after taking surveys at local schools to discover what water safety knowledge their peers had.

The film project holds further significance as some Digital Youth members knew 15-year-old Oxford Spires Academy pupil Hussain Mohammed, from Cowley, who died after jumping from Donnington Bridge in May 2012.

They applied to Oxfordshire County Council’s Chill Out Fund, launched earlier this year, which supports schemes encouraging youngsters with positive activities during their leisure time.

Film Oxford centre director Geron Swann said: “We’re making a film about how young people can enjoy the river and waterways around Oxford safely in the summer months.

“The group wanted to produce something that reminded people about basic safety when around water.

“There have been some very tragic deaths, particularly teenagers, and it’s about making people think more when around water. The plan is for the film to be aimed at teenagers because these are the people that have tragically died.”

Alongside providing training sessions to young people involved with the project, funding will enable the group to develop their initial concept and begin key research prior to filming.

Talks during school assemblies and tutor groups will then take place, where the four- to six-minute film will be shown.

Hoping to spread their river safety advice across the city, outdoor screenings throughout Oxford will be held at areas including Rose Hill, Hinksey Park and Cutteslowe.

Support will also be sought from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service which will provide advice and guidance to the filmmakers.

Mr Swann said the project was important as other safety films “were not engaging enough for a teenage audience”.

He added: “Hopefully it will save lives and it will make people think a little bit more about the dangers of the river but at the same time teach them not to be afraid and enjoy the river safely.”

People aged from eight to 19, or those with learning disabilities aged up to 24, could benefit from the Chill Out Fund. The deadline for applications is May 27.

For more, see oxcentric.oxme.info/cms/content/chill-out-fund

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