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Dagenham filmmaker, 24, shining spotlight on anti-knife crime outreach scheme in Newham

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 November 2018 | UPDATED: 09:39 26 November 2018

Byran Ferrol (second right) at the Carry a Basketball Not a Blade short film premiere. Picture: Terry Scott

Byran Ferrol (second right) at the Carry a Basketball Not a Blade short film premiere. Picture: Terry Scott

Terry Scott

A young filmmaker has shone a spotlight on an outreach scheme trying to tackle knife crime.

Byran Ferrol, of Review Road, Dagenham, created a short film to highlight the work of Carry a Basketball Not a Blade (CABNAB), a project run by the Newham All Star Sports Academy, known as NASSA.

The scheme combined basketball coaching with talks about the dangers of knife crime and gang culture. After training in basketball skills, participants are taught about various topics affecting their lives in one of the London’s poorest boroughs, such as dealing with peer pressure.

“Knife crime in the London has been a huge problem for far too long,” the 24-year-old said.

“Often the consequences are devastating but I wanted to shine a light on people out there doing something positive to combat it and also bring the subject some humanity and realism. It is happening today on our streets and affecting real people.”

In the film, a stark voiceover provides harrowing testimony of London’s stabbing epidemic, segueing into scenes of CABNAB coaching sessions.

“I carried a knife when I was 14,” the narrator says.

“It was the fashion, everyone was doing it. At the same time, it was a thing [with which] to protect yourself.”

The project appears in the National Lottery Legend campaign, which showcases the difference people and projects make in their communities across the UK.

A graduate of the British Film Institute’s Film Academy, which receives funds from state-franchised gambling, Byran received mentoring from director George Amponsah, whose documentary The Hard Stop charted how the police shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in north London seven years ago escalated into riots.

NASSA chief executive Natasha Hart said: “It is so heartwarming to see what we do encapsulated on film.

“Byran understands east London and he has portrayed this important issue that NASSA faces every day in its true light. Our dream has always been to spread the CABNAB message across the UK.”

BFI CEO Amanda Nevill called the short film a “terrific example” of the Academy’s work with young people “shining a light on some of the inspirational people who do amazing things”.

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