Youngsters making short videos on dangers of peer pressures
YOUTHS in Cherry Orchard at risk from being diverted to a life of petty criminality, are involved with a local media and production company, which is moving them into a positive outlet with possibilities for growth and development.
Hour Hearts Productions has a number of youths involved in plans to make a shorts series on the dangers of peer pressure for youngsters.
This follows a short video released just before Halloween, with youngsters from the area warning of the dangers of fireworks, delivering their message to camera while on the street.
The video was produced by Hour Hearts in conjunction with Cllr Daithí Doolan and Familibase.
Cherry Orchard was a big national media headline story in September, following viral footage of a garda car being rammed by youths in stolen cars.
However, it is a problem that has dogged the area for decades – younger youths copying older peers as the cycle continues.
In an effort to reach them before they go down that path, Cherry Orchard man Paul Ritchie, who runs Hour Hearts Productions with Myles Maher, engages youngsters most at risk, and the response has been great, the youths taking to acting naturally.
“We know the names of all the kids,” said Paul.
“The older ones. 16 to17 years old, are too far gone. We are targeting the 12/13/14-year-olds before it is too late, and get them off the street. The younger lads are led on by the older lads.”
With the help of Cllr Hazel De Nortúin, Paul secured a space upstairs at Cherry Orchard Community Centre to work with the children every Wednesday and Thursday evening.
“I pick them up beforehand at their home, to make sure they go, but they all want to go. When we were out filming the Halloween video with cameras, everyone knows us and says ‘howya’. With the scene at the end of the Halloween video, we just went to St James’s Hospital and asked the driver if we could film beside the ambulance.”
Hour Hearts Productions released a movie ‘Blind Man’s Bluff’, earlier this year, which was shot over three days back in Ballyfermot and has young emerging talent from the area.
Paul says they have not received funding for the production, which premiered at the Lighthouse Cinema in March, but are hopeful of securing funding for Blind Man’s Bluff and other projects. The company is recognised by Screen Ireland.
“Anything we can get funding for will go back into the community,” said Paul, who has done workshops in local secondary schools for first years.
“We have talked with Cllr De Nortúin and Cllr Doolan, and we want to work with gardai. Any kids who don’t want to act, we have other ideas, and are thinking of doing a gaming competition at the centre, maybe a FIFA football tournament.”
Currently, the collaborative work is focusing on a six-part series warning of the dangers of peer pressure, with each episode ten minutes long, and this will require more preparation and rehearsals.
“The first one will be about girls forced into underage sex, the second one on kids forced to try laughing gas,” said Paul.
“Another one will be on bullying. The Canada Goose jackets that the young lads love, are really expensive. There is an app that you can scan the label of the jacket, why it is available to the public I don’t know, and if it is a knock-off, the lad gets bullied because it is fake. Parents haven’t got the money for those jackets (which can cost up to €1,600).”