Know anyone with a story to tell, who is willing to star in a three-minute portrait documentary? Chocolate Films urges you, and anyone who considers themselves a Londoner, to put themselves forward for one of their 1000 Londoners short films, which exclusively debuts each week across its website and social channels.
The production company has already revealed 12 films, with the most recent centred around Danny, a Thames Water sewage worker who takes viewers into the inner trenches of London where we learn that the sewers in the East End are less rat-infested and more expansive than the West End, and that, up until recently, a problematic 1000 cubic metre build-up of fat, sat thick and heavy under Leicester Square.
Too whiffy for you? Then try watching Hackney hula-hooper Mawara teach a group of hula-hoop misfits how to hip-gyrate at Tower Hamlet’s York Hall; or Polish-born/newly turned Londoner John fight his way to a title in mixed martial arts caged fighting at The Troxy; or the inspiring football instructor George, who played for Arsenal when he was 14-years-old and who now coaches the youth academy at West Ham Football Club; or perhaps the ex-heroin addict turned Big Issue trader Sara who charms people day in and day out on the streets near Strand.
While most of the films are meticulously shot by the production team at Chocolate Films (note the crisp night shots and beautiful close-ups), it is hoped that upcoming shorts will take on a more home-made feel. The current roster’s formulaic graphic idents and quirky music overlays start to wear on the nerves after several viewings, softening their creative edge.
Mark Currie, company director at Chocolate Films, insisted at the Bafta launch event that a grassroots agenda is in the works. “We want to enable children and non-filmmakers to make films”, he says. “There is a social purpose to this company, and we can help provide funding for people of all ages and ethnicities through workshops, open submissions and involvement with local councils and governing bodies.”
Ami is one such example. Her film won best short at London Short Film Festival, and as a result won her a spot on the slate through open submissions with an earnest rendition of life as a persevering twenty-something.
Currie reiterated the main goal of the project is to show London from all points of view, and to “present the largest portrait of a city ever undertaken.” It’s a lofty goal, yet judging from the first instalment, they’re heading in the right direction.
Be on the look-out for online competitions and community workshops — you might even feel inclined to get your company signed up for a bit of team bonding (it’s that time of year…). For more details on how to get involved, check out the site here. Or follow on twitter, and find out when the next short film will be unveiled.
1000 Londoners is set to take place across five years, with one new film released each week. Londonist attended the launch event with a complimentary ticket.