I have been producing and directing professional music videos for almost twenty years. My experience of guerrilla film making over the years has inspired me to be resourceful. This inspired me to create Rough Shots Project, where I can share my knowledge, inspire minds and develop new voices. We are a non-profit production company and social enterprise, developing and producing films, documentaries and other digital content for companies, charities and arts organisations, both locally and nationally. We believe that anyone can be a filmmaker. All you need is an idea and a camera. Unfortunately this choice is not available to those without a camera or without access to the facilities to edit and distribute their films.

Everything we take for granted as necessary to make a film is not available to those experiencing difficulties. We want to change that by allowing access to the tools necessary to develop ideas and harness the talents and aspirations of young men and women when they need it the most. This can allow free expression, open debate or just provide friendly support during difficult times. It is important to channel strong ideas and real stories, born out of struggle. We want to develop a new breed of young filmmakers with a unique perspective on life through some of the social difficulties they have experienced. Our aim is to use the skills of young people wherever possible, working alongside more experienced professionals, to create economic opportunities for people experiencing issues of homelessness, mental health, refugees and people who are generally under represented in the film industry.

Technical workshops will allow the filmmakers to learn basic skills, but we are more interested in developing the mind skills needed to transfer their ideas into films and stories. This will allow their voices to be heard and in return empower and inspire each other through their collective experiences. We are primarily offering support, learning and empowerment. The business will put the profits back into the community by helping homeless people to learn new skills, make new contacts, possibly find employment and hopefully help them find secure accommodation. In time, and with support, we hope to extend the Rough Shots Project nationally and develop a film festival of work from young disadvantaged young people within the UK.

Cinema can offer a temporary departure from the real world and an immersion into other times, worlds or characters experiences but can also reflect the real issues affecting young vulnerable people. This is a luxury that cannot be afforded by everyone and we think it can be a vital therapy. We see the benefits that cinema can bring transporting you to another world, raising your spirits or experiencing life through someone else’s eyes. All profits are put back into the company and used to fund productions, events and other needs of the participants. This includes ‘classroom’ based group discussions, examining examples of films, writing, music or images to inspire their own ideas. This time can also be spent filming their own projects, taking equipment onto the streets and planning productions.

Each filmmaker is paid to work on commissioned work. Nobody works for free and I am keen to speak with BECTU about how this can work for non-members or by subsidising their membership to the union. The long-term plan is to get the participants into a better place, both physically and mentally. We hope that the participants will have their confidence lifted, begin to feel that they find methods of communicating their thoughts and concerns. They may not decide to find employment in media production, but though meeting new people and working as a team, they may find new transferable skills, and rekindle old ones, in order to be able to help find employment and a secure home. Even if it’s just to offer a sanctuary and exchange thoughts for a couple of hours, I will feel that it has been worth it.

Currently I am restricted to offering training and experience on my own projects, but this is something I feel would benefit from wider support and co-operation from other production companies and larger film and television productions. We are always looking for new partnerships and interesting projects so please get in touch at [email protected].

Thank you

Andy Hylton