Five Years for Eye With A View works!
Written by Andrea Simmons
In Hackney, dreams are fleeting, often lost altogether as the realities of economics set in. The borough has always been known as the hub of the working class and with a global financial crisis prevailing, jobs are even harder to secure. For young people, self-esteem is nearly obsolete; poverty, as pervasive as an untreatable virus, often brings worthy futures to a halt.
Lola Atkins knows all to well how the potential of a child can be smothered by crime, joblessness, drugs and poor education. She grew up in Hackney; unlike many, her parents encouraged her to further her education, secure a job and fight for a brighter world. Her dream was complex. Although she has a degree in microbiology and immunology and worked as a microbiologist, her inner drive was steered from another angle. As long as she could remember, her real longing was to write, to create, more specifically to be involved with youth. Her keen interest and talent in motion image production paired with young people seeking a brighter path was a perfect fit.
Soulful beginnings taught her hard work is your only way up. To leave a steady job and follow ones heart seemed ludicrous in these uncertain times. But that is exactly what Lola did. In 2004, young and determined, she set up a spot behind a travel agency in Stoke Newington where she embarked on a remarkable journey. Leaving flyers in youth clubs and approaching HCVS (Hackney Community Voluntary Services) for a grant, her first program in filmmaking was underway.
With twelve teens she produced in eight weeks three short films. The work was then screened in East London´s Rio Cinema.
Former student, Noorganah Robertson recalls “ my particular experience was that it was one of the best film/media courses I have taken”. She added that Lola was very supportive to everyone and catered the course to each students desires, specifications and needs. Eye With A View Works ( EWAV-Works) opened a door for Ms. Robertson, who went on to earn a film production degree from The Arts University College at Bournemouth.
The neighborhood was wary however as the hype drew in lots of young people who walked a line with some of the communitys neighbors. Feeling the heat, Lola sought other surroundings. She moved her base to Dalston where a course in animation began to stimulate more interest in her projects. Along with friend Paul Sullivan she produced HUSH an engaging exploration of a young, partially sighted girls triumph over grief and abuse which received an International Black Filmmakers award in 2000. Again in Cannes 2006, HUSH took the center stage screening well among a very competitive Indie market and showed profitable sales.
Producing three or four 8-week projects a year has proved costly on Lola’s personal wallet as well. HCVS, who provides hundreds of local voluntary and community sector organizations with the key skills, knowledge and resources to respond to the needs of local people, has been a continual contributor. Private support from donors such as the Family Mosaic have kept the flame burning. Yet it´s a classic case of demand versus supply.
Recently Lola has begun to work with young offenders in a Bristol prison. No grants from the government, only hope and a shoestring budget keep her going. Lolas drive is spiritually based; she believes in her art form and she believes in her community. By giving young inmates the tools to express their life story through individual projects such as autobiographical documentaries she enables them to, sometimes for the first time, have some insight into themselves, who they are and how they can find their way back to becoming a productive member of the community. This pilot program geared mainly for boys ages 16 – 18 is being held at Ashfield prison. Lola aspires to continue, despite some financial setbacks and is hopeful the governing bodies in the community will see her efforts worthwhile and consider funding and continuing her dream.
Eye With A View works has earned the honor of presenting diplomas from OCR Examination Body, ( Oxford, Cambridge and RSA) in Animation and Motion Images Production.
Eye With A View Works is now celebrating five years of success. With Lola Atkins strength and determination, the next five will surely be even better.
For more information On Eye With A View Works or to inquire about how you can support this remarkable program, visit their website at: www.ewavworks.com
Or telephone +44 788 303 1115.