What does it take to change a child’s life? H is for Harry is a coming of age story about Harry, a charismatic 11-year old boy, who arrives at secondary school in suburban London unable to read or write. With the help of Sophie, his extremely dedicated teacher, can he overcome the illiteracy ingrained across generations of his family?
Against the backdrop of a Britain riven with debates around class, identity and social mobility, the film follows Harry over two years as he fights not only to improve academically but also to believe in a different future for himself.
The Medway Network: Screening, Wednesday 26th June @ St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Kent (private screening)
Beanstalk: Screening + Q&A, Monday 15th July, 18:00, London (private screening)
What are you going to be doing when you’re 25 Harry?
Trying to stay alive...
Let's do something!
“I come from a very similar place to Harry’s neighbourhood, with the same levels of intergenerational poverty and the problems that come with that. Looking at my school year group today: some have never worked, some are already grandparents in their thirties, some ended up in prison, one is a prostitute, a couple are drug addicts. Others haven’t fared quite so badly but they certainly never reached their potential. They weren’t even aware that they had potential or agency to create any kind of future for themselves. None of us were.
The worst, most debilitating effect of poverty on young people is the poverty of aspiration: the lack of confidence and headspace to imagine that life could be different. I got away from my hometown to escape that crushing sense of inevitability that life would always be that way, and it was for these reasons I became a teacher and continue to work in education today. Is it possible to press the reset button on these children’s lives? To break the cycle of poverty? And is it actually right to do this? I know from my own experience how this can sever ties to family, friends and community for good. In these communities even subtle differences – your changing accent, “speaking different” – have a huge impact on relationships.
We’ve been present through the highs and lows of the school year – capturing the small details that reveal an enormous amount: the facial expressions of children who have never been told before that they are important. H is for Harry is a ‘coming-of-age’ film to encourage a discussion around education and the extent to which it can perform the miracles each new government promises.”
- Jaime Taylor, Co-Director
Ed Owles, Co-Director
Ed has shot & directed films across the globe for the last 10 years for broadcast, festival & online. His first feature documentary screened at festivals around the world, was broadcast on Al-Jazeera, and was described by The Hollywood Reporter as “tremendously vivid & expertly entertaining”. He is the co-founder of award-winning production company Postcode Films.
Jaime Taylor, Co-Director
Jaime left a career in teaching in 2009 to make documentaries & co-found Postcode Films with Ed. She has also worked as a development producer with the BBC & Producer with Century Films on the Bafta nominated, RTS and double Grierson winning ‘The Secret History of Our Streets’. She worked for 4 years across both series of the critically acclaimed documentary, described in the Guardian as “wonderful...it prodded your brain awake as it broke your heart.”
Jon McGoh, Producer
Jon is an entrepreneur running a successful education company, which has funded the development of the film. Jon is part of Sheffield DocFest’s flagship Future Producer Program. As a Governor at Reach Academy, Jon has been essential in building trust and access for the Directors.
Isla Badenoch, Creative Producer
Isla Badenoch is a documentary filmmaker, creative producer and visual artist. Isla programmes film festival Sheffield Doc/Fest, has written articles for The Guardian, produced audio installations for London’s Science Museum and developed an Arts Council Funded Virtual Reality Opera and several international documentary films on subjects ranging from religious tolerance in Sierra Leone, the Danish UN General Secretary, to families surviving baby loss.
Executive Producers Rachel Wexler & Jez Lewis - Bungalow Town Productions
Distribution in Partnership with Dartmouth Films
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