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Tin Luck: estate of the nation

Beatrix Blaise’s powerful short film, which stars Camden residents, has won rave reviews

20 November, 2020 — By Dan Carrier

A scene from Tin Luck

A GROUNDBREAKING film shot on the Maiden Lane estate, Camden, and starring the people who live there earned a nomination for the Best UK Short Film at the prestigious Raindance Film Festival earlier this month.

Tin Luck, by director Beatrix Blaise, has won rave reviews from critics for its honest portrayal of life on a London housing estate – and now looks set to garner more plaudits as the film is due to potentially be screened at other festivals.

Beatrix and the film crew posted 300 letters through doors to ask people living there to get involved – and the result is a short film that breaks down stereotypes.

She says the film aims to create a fresh and engaging picture of life in Maiden Lane.

She said: “Exploring themes of contemporary masculinity, it follows its hero, Trey, as he moves through the estate and the lives of its residents.

“This film deliberately moves away from the gritty dramas that estates have become known for, and instead focuses on the sensitivity of young black men in a community in search of its identity away from misrepresentation and lack of visibility for their talent. It shows how important community centres are for harnessing confidence in new futures.”

Beatrix Blaise

One of the stars is Brown Ntoto, who as well as acting is performs as rapper Brownsilla. He joined co-star and neighbour Samuel Adewunmi in the film. The pair grew up in Maiden Lane – and Brownsilla explained how he has been inspired by taking courses at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm and using a council-built recording studio in the estate’s community centre to hone his craft.

He said: “I’ve always been into rap and I’ve always had a passion for music. I used to freestyle with friends. In 2010 we petitioned to get a studio built.”

And he had gained experience in film-making at the Maiden Lane youth club – which meant when Beatrix approached residents, he decided to get involved.

He said: “We used to make documentaries and content pieces, so when we saw that Beatrix would let us have input into the script, we were excited to work on it – it was great showing her team around.”

And he says the powerful film, alongside the music he creates, has an important message.

He added: “I make my music to change that narrative that’s been pushed upon black people, not just by this government but worldwide. There are many black people doing positive and amazing things – but we don’t get glorified because of the agenda that gets pushed in mainstream media to keep us down. We are still climbing the ladder though, slowly but surely.”

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