INSPIRATION, IMAGINATION AND ASPIRATION are on the list of credits of a short film made by children in Sunderland.
‘Monster Moon’ was edited, scripted and acted by children from across the city who took part in a family summer activities programme, organised by the charity Parker Trust at the former Parker Memorial Home in Kayll Road, Pallion
Part of the film was inspired by the massive construction project taking place in their community, with the new Wear Crossing between Castletown on the North bank of the river and Pallion on the south.
To pay tribute to the source of their inspiration and see for themselves the progress of work, four eight-year-old boys who act in the film visited the site to show their adult counterparts their film and learn more about the £117.6m project.
The Parker Trust community base hosts a regular programme of events and activities for all ages across a range of interests, while also providing a base and workshop spaces for new start-up businesses such as Capture Action Media who made the short film and captured the footage of all the hard work which went into it.
That includes the script meetings where the young film-makers were asked to create a story based on what would happen if giant Alien meatballs fell to earth from space and what havoc that would create.
After considering a number of more exotic locations around the world, it was only when someone suggested that should include the site of new Wear crossing in their local communities that the project really caught their imagination.
With the story established, four young boys said they wanted to play the role of superhero council and construction workers involved in building the 344 feet high bridge between Castletown and Pallion.
As a sequel to their work and finale to the project, their visit was also filmed to see their reaction to the scale of the work taking place, and the hard work and skills going in to creating the new bridge for their city (https://youtu.be/M1twipY4uck)
Chair of the Parker Trust, Councillor Thomas Wright said: “What made this project so special is that the young people who play the workmen in the film originally didn’t want anything to do with it or acting, but were inspired to get involved by the new bridge being built on their doorstep.
“It was advice from the construction workers and being able to play the type of hard working characters they recognised from their community that inspired them to create their own scenes based on the construction at Pallion.
”Making the film also inspired young people in other creative ways. One young lad has become interested in civil engineering and wants to design and build bridges when he leaves school, while others were excited by the changes going on in Sunderland which the new bridge helps represent and how they think we can all get involved in our community’s bid to become City of Culture.”
Film-maker Riley Robinson who attends Valley Road Primary in Hendon said: “I’m going to work on Bridges when I grow up” while his co-star Leon Jacob-Wood from St Joseph’s RC Primary in Rutland Street added: “I want to help design bridges when I get older, I bet you earn lots of money doing that as a job.”
After their visit to the new Wear crossing construction site to show their film, Luke Petrie from Broadway Junior School said “I thought it was really good getting to see the new bridge” with Aydan Cooper from nearby Barnes Junior School adding: “I like that I got to see what the bridge will be like in the future.”
Pallion Action Group funded the film-making project which involved 36 children in writing the scripts and storyboards, and designing and making the scenery for the short-film which they also appear in as the leading characters.
The Parker Trust is the charity which administers the building and grounds of the former orphanage and home for the disadvantaged families in Kayll Road, which were bequeathed to the city by the trustees of the charity who used to own it.
After lying empty for a number of years, they have now been returned to community use by local volunteers with funding and support from Sunderland City Council who appointed a Community Development Manager from the local voluntary and community sector Karen Wood from Pallion Action Group.
Karen said: “We wanted to inspire young people to become creative by using what is happening in the city, with the new bridge really effective in raising their aspirations of what can and is being achieved and increase their feeling of being part of that process.
“The talents and skills of all those who took part has created an exciting piece of work that the young people and their parents/carers can enjoy.”
Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director for FVB, the consortium appointed by Sunderland City Council to construct the new bridge, said: “It’s great to know that local school children are getting so excited about the New Wear Crossing and we’re delighted to host Leon, Luke, Aydan and Riley and the team from the Parker Trust here on site in Pallion.
“ It’s very important to us to engage with local communities and this is an important local project.”