Barking filmmaker to make short film for Sky Arts

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 January 2020

John Akinde has been selected to make a short film that will be broadcast on Sky Arts. Picture: Decoy Media

John Akinde has been selected to make a short film that will be broadcast on Sky Arts. Picture: Decoy Media

Decoy Media

A Barking filmmaker is set to bring a story of a young man caught up in gang warfare to the small screen.

John Akinde is one of five finalists in the ShortFlix competition, who will each make a short film to be aired on Sky Arts later this year.

His film, If I Die Today, tells the story of David who is caught between friendship, revenge and doing the right thing when he is swept up in neighbourhood gang warfare.

John, 25, said: "I've been writing bars, poems and stories for much of my life and I was very keen on finding a way to break in the film industry.

"As an estate kid from Barking, opportunities to get into the film industry don't just come to your doorstep so I explored options and managed to stumble upon ShortFlix."

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He was among more than 300 people to apply for the initiative, which is run by Creative England and aimed at 18 to 25-year-olds.

Entrants had to come up with an original idea for an engaging short film, with John and his fellow finalists each receiving a £10,000 production award to allow their concept to become reality.

"I'm very passionate about telling stories inspired by my neighbourhood and it means the world that I am able to tell it with such backing," John said.

"I'm excited to be making an untold story of inner-city trauma and really hopeful that it will humanise and let outsiders see young people involved in violence for their trauma and pain. I believe that's how we can start the conversation around healing.

"It means a lot to make a high quality film from an idea I had in my bedroom."

John, who has been interested in film since he made music videos with his friends as a child, added: "My aspirations now are to continue creating and telling stories that represent people that look like me and that come from where I come from.

"I just want to create art and show that you don't have to be privileged and have lots of 
money to build a career as a creative."

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