Walls Film Poster
Runtime: 19mins

The Vision

‘WALLS’ is the result of a three-year long project by a small group of young people in Blackburn, who were passionate about uniting White and Asian communities in their home town in Northern England. This group of high school students, with no background in film-making, but in partnership with, and under the mentorship of director Aaron Dunleavy, have been determined to tell a story which has a lot to say about their community and the tensions which they face today.

The hope is for this film to be distributed to as many people and communities as possible, both nationally and internationally.

History of the Film

It began with a small, mixed cohort of Year 9 students that took part in a Dragon’s Den style event, run by the Community Safety Team (Blackburn with Darwen Council). They were challenged to come up with a project that raises the awareness of extremism and something that would help tackle it. The students wanted to make a film, but with the time restraints, had to settle for a short trailer. After brainstorming an excellent, fictional story and developing a script for the required scenes, the students delivered their presentation and took first place.

Walls Film - History
The 'Dragon's Den' students giving their presentation
Walls Film - History
The students won first place.

Their ambition was to use the prize money to develop the full short film and showcase it to other schools in the area. With a little extra funding, the project was able to commence, and with the knowledge of director Aaron Dunleavy returning to Blackburn, he was the first choice from the Academy to lead in the creation of the short. His previous award-winning films had the right style and amount of grit that this project was looking for. He met with the staff involved at the end of the academic year and was happy to take on the project when September came around.

The first few months were spent padding out the storyline and developing the characters involved. Each week, Aaron would meet up with the students and staff involved, to work through each stage of the pre-production process. As the scheduled filming dates got closer, attention switched to sourcing locations, finding the right members of the crew and of course, the auditions for the main parts. Several casting calls later, two local students were offered the roles; Riayah Hussain from Nelson and Tyler Harkness from Blackburn.

Walls Film - History
Walls Film - History

Filming commenced in March 2017 and took place over two weekends. Some scenes required lots of extras, so many St Wilfrid’s students were given the chance to get involved!

Filming finished with an exciting Community Cohesion Celebration, during which the final scene was filmed. Lots of students took to the stage as we welcomed many people from the surrounding community.

Behind the Scenes

The filming experience was fantastic for all involved, with many students experiencing a film set for the first time.

The short video below is a glimpse into the behind the scenes of the entire project, as the ‘Dragon’s Den’ students share their own thoughts from the experience.