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Knife Crime Film Wins Royal Television Society Award

A thought-provoking film made by local young ex-offenders has picked up an RTS Award.
Like recent Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, Shank is a tale from the urban streets which won the Niche Audience best drama production award at the recent RTS Awards at the Sage Gateshead.
Produced by Newcastle film production house Superkrush Films, Shank is a short film which opens a window onto the stark reality encountered by the unwanted faces of inner city youth.
The film follows the fortunes of Brody who, fresh off the prison block and back on the streets, is determined to set his life straight. Tired of the troubled streets he knows, he offers his time to assist a former youth counsellor working with kids on the edge of the system.
But what begins as an opportunity to change someone else's life soon threatens to destroy his. With long-term girlfriend Lisa on one side and the savage gang leader Lewis hungry for blood on the other, Brody is caught between the path he wants to walk, and the streets he can't avoid.
During 2008, Superkrush Films worked with a group of eight young ex-offenders, in conjunction with Sunderland YOT, to create this short film dealing with the negative consequences of knife crime. Shank is a raw unflinching look at street gang culture, but shows how engaging young disaffected people in the media can not only assist them in integrating back into the community, but inform the film industry with honesty, originality and innovation in story-telling.
Director of Shank and owner of Superkrush Films Chris Taylor said, on working with the group: "They grabbed ownership of the project from the first week. All of us were astounded by their natural talent for performing, but also the readiness of the lads to tell their own stories, to share with us the reality of being at the heart of Britain's most widely debated issues."
The project has proven to be beneficial for its participants. Following completion of the project many of the participants are exploring their interests in the media further. Two of the film's stars are contributing to its soundtrack with original music, with another of the actors working alongside Superkrush at BBC Blast to facilitate film workshops.
Nathan, who plays one of the lead roles in the film, said: "It feels mad watching it on the TV, but I'm proud of what I've done. It gave me something to do and kept us out of trouble."
Chris Taylor added: "Shank explores a serious issue, made all the more relevant as the participants developed it themselves. It is a testament to their passion and commitment to get off the streets and do something positive that created Shank, now an award-winning production. This was their Oscars glory!"

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