‘Anybody can pick up a knife—but there’s a ripple effect’

TWO filmmakers who have been painstakingly interviewing victims of the growing wave of knife crime are waiting to hear if their documentary will be screened across the nation.

Ben Gorman and Ben Jay are in talks with TV bosses while also hoping their project has been accepted for screening at international film festivals.

The film, If They Were Heard, has already been sent to the Home Office by the two young East Enders who are trying for Government cash to run an education programme on knife crime in schools.

Jay, 23, from the Millenium Drive on the Isle of dogs, and his production pal Gorman, 22, who lives near the Excel Centre in Silvertown, tackle knife crime as a national problem, not just in terms of stereotypes.

They didn’t follow the usual documentary pattern of going round East London’s problem housing estates with cameras looking for youths to interview about ‘boredom’ or ‘wrong crowds’. They spoke to their families and to the families of their victims.

“Anybody can pick up a knife,” Ben Gorman tells me. “But we wanted to look at the ‘ripple’ effect on the families of victims.

“The families provided us with graphic details, on how they were first told of the death.”

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Sounds morbidly compelling, but he persisted: “You rarely see pictures of knife wounds.

“We wanted to hit home the real effect of carrying a knife by using genuine images from these incidents.”

He refers to the case of Theresa Cave: “She tells the camera exactly what she’s been told happened to her son Chris. Her son was stabbed 19 times by a gang of seven and was left lying on the ground before finally being stabbed in the heart.

“Theresa now lives opposite two of the murderers. She’s in a council flat, but the housing authority is unable to relocate her.”

The two film-makers struggled to keep the project going all those months.

“It was a slow process,” Ben continued. “Many families did not want to speak out, especially the families of those who had committed the crime.

“But the process helped families move on. They were happy there was a way to chuck something back with the project. They can do something about knife crime now.”

Now the ambitious pair have applied to have their documentary screened at America’s Sundance Film Festival and hopefully at the Cannes Film Festival.

Meanwhile, they are in talks with ITV hoping ‘If They Were Heard’ would be screened across Britain to help the campaign to end the endemic cycle of violence among our youth.