WATCH: Food Fighters documentary tells Covid response story
Watch all of Mungo Benson's films here
23 October, 2020 — By Dan Carrier
THE battle by volunteers to help those most in need has been turned into a series of short documentaries, writes Dan Carrier. Mungo Benson, from Kentish Town, has created six films which follow the work of community volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tthey tell the stories of the volunteers who have come together to tackle food poverty in Camden.
He said: “When Covid began, as a film maker, it was a question of: how I can use my skills? I knew it was something I needed to record in any way I could.” Mr Benson shot the work as he shadowed teams from the Highgate Newtown Community Centre (HNCC) crisis response centre – and then a second food bank, in the Castlehaven Community Centre, Camden Town.
Mr Benson went to William Ellis School in Highgate Road, and he said it was there that he was inspired to become a film maker. The school’s film studio helped him learn the trade.
“I have always wanted to take a camera into communities to create films that are both dramatic and are documentary,” he said. “I spoke to shop workers, bus drivers, street cleaners, friends, and took shots of Camden’s empty streets.”
He then met HNCC manager Mags O’Reilly, who has been co-ordinating the centre’s response to Covid.
He said: “Instantly I thought it was inspiring. Mags let me observe what was going on – and it was incredible to see people being so proactive, working collectively, answering people’s needs. I had felt the idea of community in my life time had faded away. That’s the usual response when people talk about social bonds. “But I saw it emerge really strongly and that was an inspiration.”
Now the short series will become part of a larger film project called Lockdown 2020, combining other film he has shot over the past six months of the crisis.