Mulberry School for Girls has run an in-house film production company, Mulberry Films, since 2007. The company aspires to develop innovative and participatory moving image media projects that create opportunities for extra-curricular learning, creative practice and professional development. Mulberry has a culture of screening the work they have produced, both in- house and as part of offsite projects and arts events.
The company work in a number of ways including running film/video making projects with both external and in house practitioners, building links into the film industry and fostering greater film and moving image literacy more broadly across the school, through critical and creative engagement. This is in addition to working closely with the Media Studies department to raise attainment in GCSE and A-level Media Studies.
Since its inception, Mulberry Films has produced films including ‘London Blitz’, ‘London Learners, London Lives’; a film made by students exploring diversity and identity in London schools and ‘Shout!’; a project where students learned the skills to make their own films based on personal expression, . The company helped the school in winning the Rolls Royce Science prize by supporting the students to make a film about stem cell research. This was shown at the Royal Albert Hall.
A major project for Mulberry Films was Justice in Action, a film documentary produced by Mulberry and Fiona Lloyd – Davies of Studio 9 Films. This involved six students from Mulberry travelling to Sarajevo and The Hague to create a film which explores the nature of justice and shares the stories of survivors of the Bosnian war. Justice in Action premiered in the UK at the Barbican on 26th September 2012 where it was Time Out Critics’ Choice. In June 2013 a group of Mulberry students took the film to the People’s Film Festival in Harlem, New York where it won Best International Documentary. The film was also selected for COMMFEST, a fringe event which is part of the Toronto International Film Festival and a group of students travelled there be presented with the ‘Making a Difference Award’.
Screenings are held at regular intervals throughout the year as part of the Mulberry Women’s Cinema Project. This community cinema exhibits and facilitates discussion of narrative features, documentaries and non-mainstream films by, about and for women. A female guest speaker, currently working in the cinema industry, is invited to each showing. The target audience is women of all ages from the local area. This project has included screenings at Genesis Cinema in Mile End and RichMix in Shoreditch as well as in the Mulberry & Bigland Green Centre.
Mulberry Films always welcomes hearing from individuals and organisations with a view to fostering partnership links. We would particularly like to hear from companies who have an interest in developing media projects that are inter-generational, build links with neighbouring schools and encourage participants to engage with their broader locality.