Fostering an identity - film release
An extraordinary 17 year old explores his cultural identity after growing up in care
“I want everyone who’s been in care to know that you can go to university, that we can aim higher and this film opened doors for me.”
In July, 2020 Hackney based social enterprise Mediorite and BAFTA nominated TV production company Peggy Pictures came together to seek a talented and diverse young filmmaker to work with on a short documentary film. Mehdi beat the competition to win a £6,000 cash and pro bono prize to make his film a reality.
The result is an inspiring short documentary, Looked after Child released on Real Stories on Sunday 23rd May during Foster Care Fortnight. With dual Moroccan and Irish heritage each foster family the local authority chose for Mehdi were non-white but was that enough to give him a sense of belonging? From Bengali to Brazilian, his placements left him feeling lost and alienated until finally he found a place to call home.
“This film’s important to me because it touches on emotional topics that I've really lived through. There’s undoubtedly a stigma attached to foster children that we won't do as well as our peers because of our difficult experiences and we’re regularly put in unsuitable environments without explanations..”
In this honest and raw film about Mehdi’s life experiences, we see his struggle to establish a sense of identity whilst fighting the low expectations that school, the care system and society have for looked after children.
Supporting facts: The Guardian stated in 2017 that only 6% of care leavers go to university
31% of children leaving care have no qualifications.
27% of care leavers aged 16-18 have 5 GCSEs (A*-C) or higher.
Nearly 1 in 4 care leavers aged 16-18 had a statement of special educational needs.
“Not only has this production helped develop Mehdi as a talented emerging director but his foster sister Lina provided the music on the credits and overall we’ve generated 152 hours of work experience and £1,000 of paid work to diverse under 25’s. There is an insane amount of talent and promise in London’s young people and that's what this collaboration to shows.” Lucy Ferguson, Director of Mediorite
“It was a real privilege to support such a bright and inspiring young man bring his vision to life and shine a spotlight on these important issues. We’re all so proud of what Mehdi achieved and have no doubt that the world is his oyster and big things are ahead.”
Danni Davis, Creative Director, Peggy Pictures
“I’m hoping to study media at University and this helped to boost my confidence and I’ll definitely be taking everything I learnt from the team with me.”
The film goes live SUNDAY 23rd MAY 2021 @RealStories social channels