Teenage gangs, violence and murder are all too frequently at the forefront of Lambeth’s news agenda, however a new film set in Brixton will dive headfirst into the real world of Lambeth teens and the modern-day issues they face.
Having already raised £10,000 for Honeytrap through crowd funding, the film’s director Rebecca Johnson says it’s at its halfway goal and has until April 11 to reach its target. “With crowd funding you’re kind of building an audience, which is quite a new way of doing things in difficult financial times,” she says. “It gives audience an active role in the film-making process.”
With her production company Fierce Productions the Brixton-based writer and filmmaker has spent the past ten years working with south London youths, drawing most of her inspiration from her work on Stockwell Park Estate, where she has spent five years working with young people. Her most successful film Top Girl has 85,000 hits. “Top Girl gives you a pretty good idea of where I’m going with Honeytrap; it’s about young girls in Brixton caught in a man’s world.”
An urban drama, Honeytrap is the first-person story of fifteen-year-old Layla who gets swept up in a whirlwind romance with a gang-leader and rapper called Troy. After he dumps her, desperate to win him back Layla offers to kill another boy who is in love with her. Drawing inspiration from a number of real life news cases, the one most would be familiar with is the 2009 murder of New Cross boy Shakilus Townsend who was lured into a ‘honeytrap’ and killed by then fifteen year-old Samantha Joseph and a number of gang-members in Thornton Heath.
“Honeytrap is an amalgamation of cases; the one that happened in Croydon was very high profile and we’re all extremely aware of it but there are plenty of other stories like this that don’t get reported,” Rebecca explains. “Girls are becoming very involved in gang culture, they’re growing up in a hyper-sexualised society, they’re exposed to pornography more than ever before, there’s this huge amount of consumer onslaught telling them who they need to be and what they need to have and we’re looking at the effects of that melting point of pressures.”
The increasing prevalence of girl gangs is part of a cycle of abuse, Rebecca says. “More often girls are carrying weapons or setting up boys, they’re being used and abused and there’s confusion as to what a respectful relationship actually is. It’s just very sad,” she says.
Due to start casting and training in the next couple of months, with filming aimed for around August, Rebecca is calling for young volunteers to get involved and have the chance to be trained by a professional film crew in filming, lighting, sound, costumes and make-up.
Follow Rebecca on twitter at @honeytrapfilm or see the same name on Facebook for more information. To pledge money for the film visit: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/honeytrap-a-feature-film-with-a-difference