Atlantic Film Alliance has set up an Indiegogo campaign to help digitise and edit 14 years of footage recording the inspiring activities at Mark Elie’s ballet school in Notting Hill. Funding will enable the completion of this hugely inspiring film that has been described as “Boyhood meets the black Billy Elliott“.
Even more poignant and necessary following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, the film, called Step By Step, will be an inspiring and powerfully positive story of London’s black and ethnic community living in the heart of the Portobello Road in North Kensington. Atlantic Film Alliance wants to bring this story to a national and international audience, setting up an Indiegogo campaign to help finance its post-production.
Eager to bring the film’s positive and powerful stories of hope and dreams manifesting to a wide audience, the film’s producers are seeking around €60,000. Executive Producer Paul Duane said, “[Filmmaker] Ciarin Scott has spent 14 years documenting Mark Elie’s ballet school in Notting Hill. Now she’s turning that footage into a documentary which I am privileged to be executive producing. Her last film, In A House That Ceased To Be, was a superb, haunting and endlessly re-watchable film about stunted and broken childhoods. This film will be the opposite – an inspiring, epic story of children given opportunities they would otherwise be denied.”
Brought up in a children’s home, Mark Elie was saved by ballet as a child. His passion for dance led him to open The Portobello Dance School in 1994 where he gave mainly black children from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to experience dance and in particular classical ballet. Mark has since devoted his life to black British dance, inspiring generation after generation to become role models. The film chronicles the work of Mark with his students, some of whom have gone on to have professional dance careers notably with Ballet Rambert and West End musical Dream Girls.
“Your funding will help us bring this film to a reality,” notes the film’s producers. “It will pay for the digitisation of a staggering fourteen years worth of footage shot by Ciarin Scott and her team, a labour of love, and it will also pay for the editing of that footage by an award-winning editor into a powerful feature documentary spanning years of hard work, to bring Step by Step to an international audience.”
Duane, who has been making films, both drama and documentary, added that he was seeking crowd funding to “make this film for theatrical and festival release and get it to the audience that wants to see positive and powerful stories of human decency.”
Speaking recently, Peter Herbert, Chair of the Black Lawyers Society, pledged his support to the film describing Mark “as an unsung hero”.
Ciarin Scott, best known for the critically acclaimed, award winning feature documentary In A House That Ceased To Be about the Irish humanitarian and children’s rights activist Christina Noble, whose unwavering commitment and selfless efforts have seen her better the lives of countless children since 1989, produces and directs the film.
To visit the Campaign Please go to Indiegogo Page here.
The Step by Step launch was originally due to take place earlier this year, but was postponed as a mark of respect to the victims, survivors, and families of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and the North Kensington community who continue to be deeply affected by the tragically painful and unimaginable events which took place in June.