A collection of short films about the state of housing in London has just gone online.
Shortlisted for the Fourwalls film competition set up by Tottenham MP David Lammy, all 10 videos are less than three minutes each, and cover topics covering squatting, house sharing, gentrification and architecture. The winning film was made by Lewis Knaggs, a beautifully shot and scored piece featuring two spoken word monologues that embrace the highs and lows of living in London:
We asked David Lammy why he decided to use a film competition to draw attention to London's housing crisis. "It's in the papers every day," he said, "but sometimes it can feel like just a numbers game: how many have we built, what the cost of housing is, what are interest rates. Behind that are real stories and in the end, the better word to use is a 'home'. I had this hunch that short films could convey a lot of the depth and breadth of this important subject. These films will speak to the people who watch them."
We also got talking about rent control, something on which he came out strongly in favour of last year. "I don't think even 1% of MPs rent, all of us are owner occupiers," he said. "Clearly for a whole generation of people renting, rents are soaring year after year. It's not just students and young people renting. In my constituency, loads of families are turfed out after six months, they don't know where their children are going to go to school, real fragmentation. I'd look to have some capping of rents, I don't think it's revolutionary... and I think it's a mainstream thing that we should be doing." With Lammy running to be Labour's candidate for Mayor in 2016, expect to hear more of these arguments as the various runners duke it out.
All the shortlisted films are available to watch on YouTube:
- Estate of living, by Tania Willis and Alice Rhodes: residents of the Aspland & Marcon estate in Hackney talk about how they feel about living in London and their patch in particular.
- Cody Dock, by Mattias Pettersson: a stretch of forgotten wilderness in Newham.
- In Ur Eye, by Ayo Akingbade: parallel lives of the rich and poor in gentrified Hackney.
- John, by Jessica Bishopp: John takes a walk round Bermondsey and describes what it was like growing up there. This film has some great juxtapositions of photos of old Southwark side by side with what's there now.
- Crispin, by Nick Shaw / 1000Londoners. an architect shows us round a small development he's creating, and a relative's home in Bayswater.
- At Their Mercy, by Tim Band: the plight of leaseholders being charged thousands under the government's 'Decent Homes Programme' works.
- The Girl Room, by Hanna Mansson: an upbeat film with three women talking about housesharing.
- Squat!, by Matt Mead: a thoughtful look at life in a Tottenham squat
- Matryoshka Living, by Madeleine Sims-Fewer & Nathan Hughes Berry: we loved this animation so much we thought we'd share it directly here...