Freedom and Control

A collection of short films by BA Education Culture and Society students

In Year 1 on the BA Education Culture and Society, students make short films as part of their Introduction to Creativity and Learning module. There is an interdisciplinary approach to developing this film, with input from tutors in the visual arts, movement, film and music.

This year students have responded extraordinarily well to the theme of ‘Freedom and Control’, developing inventive collaborative processes in lockdown. Many of the films relate to Covid-19 and social distancing, and explore these experiences for different groups in society. Students are very happy to share their films. 

1A Life in Lockdown, Elsa Arnold, Samia Begum, Sarah Purcell, Keira Codlin

2020 was the year everything we knew as normal became a distant memory, the world as we knew it literally stopped before our eyes. After nearly one year of social control and restricted freedom, we reflect on better days…

Inspired by the Global pandemic and the Covid-19 virus outbreak, ‘Life in Lockdown’ explores the realities of people experiencing a new ‘normal’ through consistent lockdown restraints, which have ultimately hindered the freedoms of many. This eye-opening documentary features four individuals who delve into their settings with a sense of optimism rather than negativity. Join us as we view the life encounters of this generation and document them, conveying their thoughts and emotions, which will go down in history as one of the most changing times that people have had to adapt to!

So, jump on board the thought-provoking rollercoaster, as we explore how well they adjust to these significant shifts? And, to what extent are the freedoms of these individuals re-gained? Are we truly able to hold on to that little bit of hope and take back control as we search for light at the end of the tunnel?

2A The New Reality, Hannah Hussain, Naimah Hussain, Karimah Khatun, Khadijah Miah, Mahima Yeasmin

Our film, ‘The New Reality’, portrays brutal truths about the deadly Coronavirus and how it has started to change our lives forever. The harsh comparison between life before, during and the current state we are left in is expressed through the eyes of a teenage girl. The first half of our film focuses on good times we have had with a display of everyone enjoying their lives not knowing what is going to happen; this section expresses the freedom felt before the virus had taken place. Then we go onto show how this freedom was snatched away using a black and white transition depicting how our livelihood is being governed by the deadly virus, and the lack of control we have over this situation. Now we are forced to stay inside our homes isolated from one another. The aim of our film is to display the truth about how people are coping with this global pandemic. Not only does it look at those who have been physically affected by this disease, but also those whose mental health has deteriorated. Through the use of statistics, we are able to show our audience how serious the detrimental effects have been for mental health.

3A Age of Control, Zahra Begum, Mahdiyyah Fardaus, Samiya Juma, Zainab Khan

Age of Control was filmed by Mahdiyyah Fardaus, Zainab Khan, Zahra Begum and edited by Samiya Juma. Filmed during a global pandemic, Age of Control explores and gives an insight into different generations and their views and experiences of freedom and control. This is a short documentary style film which includes perspectives from three generations including: boomers, millennials, and generation Z. We wanted some insight from other age groups on what freedom and control means to them, to do this we asked and answered three questions, ‘What comes to mind when you hear the word freedom?’, ‘Do you have as much freedom as you want in your life?’ and ‘Was there a time in your life when you had a lack of freedom?’. We chose to set our film in a documentary style as we wanted to capture the differences and or similarities between the different generations. This film will show how different generations of pupils have reacted to freedom and control, especially during the pandemic and whether this affected their lives negatively or positively. When watching the film, which generation do you feel your answers to the questions match to most?

1B Chance-Approaching, Tong Hu, Yetunde Salami

Two amateur film makers who met virtually by chance created a film inspired by chance by working together creatively and collaboratively to produce a must watch 4min film that reflects freedom and control in the pandemic.

Two people’s lives are changed after a chance meeting. In the end they draw hope, strength, and renewed passion for life through each other. proving that as human beings irrespective of race and gender, we have things in common.

A young, slim, Chinese man with red hair comes to London for the first time to study at Goldsmiths university, excited about his independence, hoping to also see the city and socialise but the lockdown in the pandemic changes his plans. He is puzzled, isolated, depressed, angry, and disappointed about the situation. Strolling is his only activity. What happens next ……………….CHANCE! After a day studying in the library, he is dreaming of fresh air and meets a Nigerian working mum. She is anxious, mentally, and physically affected after her recovery from Covid 19 and the stress of homeschooling her children. Finally they realise they have met before! Will their meeting again create a problem?

2B Locked in, Emily Burroughs, Zoe Dickson, Kim Le, Keshia Taylor

On the 16th of March 2020, Boris Johnson addressed the nation with the announcement of a strict lockdown across the country to be implemented with immediate effect.

The lives of four students come together with their own experiences of lockdown shared, all of which exhibit stark similarities. Battling with the challenge of finding that ray of hope each day, they try to adapt to the new world while seeking a better tomorrow.

Overnight they were confined to their homes, as Boris’ messages led them into an unprecedented reality. Life changed dramatically. In a short period of time, government restrictions controlled their every waking moment, leading to a literal loss of freedom that found them accepting a new normality of isolation.

The global pandemic brought a new routine to everyone’s lives. The digitalisation of work, education, leisure and socialising forced them to re-evaluate themselves. With the deterioration of daily life as they knew it, mental health was challenged, leading to ever- growing feelings of anxiety and frustration.

Based on a true story.

“It felt like watching my own life!! Every time I viewed it, I noticed something new!” Tracy Burke.

3B Your Voice 2021, Lia Chung, Rose Olisa-Okafor

‘Your Voice 2021’is a short participatory documentary that engages in a discussion on coping mechanisms throughout the lockdown period. The discussions encourage explorations of freedom and control – propelling a reflective and perceptive dialogue on the various elements of freedom and control that have experienced. Drawing from different viewpoints, this documentary highlights the experiences of everyday life that are not often represented, on widespread media.

The documentary’s positive focus, stirs a new perspective, that encourages the respondents to put into vision their different personal transformations, but also aims to bring into thought a new outlook on such an unprecedented time. Based on the voices of everyday people the documentary aims to also position the experiences, thoughts, challenges and growth of its viewers into a wider social context – alleviating the ideas of seclusion that the lockdown has brought to many.

The participatory nature of this documentary presents an art form that is inclusive and allows the viewer to witness multiple perspectives at a time. This format enables a developing narrative throughout the documentary. Viewers can be left with their own different take-aways and reflections.

What positives can you take away from how the pandemic has affected your life?

1C Freedom is a state of mind, Jack Hopkins, Danielle Norwood

Directed by Jack Hopkins and Dan Norwood “Freedom is a state of mind” is a unique insight into to the 2020 London Lockdown, following a global outbreak of coronavirus. Alcohol, drug and tech addiction surged across the UK as most of the national population had been ordered to stay at home. With the loss of social connection and people feeling imprisoned, there was little reason for people not to indulge themselves in their favourite activities. With boredom and frustration setting in, moderation becomes hard to maintain. Feeling controlled and chained to his addictions, Jack embarks on an inward journey to find his way back to freedom and cast of the shackles of his addictions.

Finding inspiration from an unlikely source, will Jack be able to navigate his way out of the despair and grasp of addiction? This film provides an insightful lens into the lives of those affected by addiction and mental health difficulties in Lockdown. Questioning the boundaries between freedom and control, this short film unpicks some of the problems highlighted by the pandemic.

2C Goldsmiths News: Belgium bans the Hijab, Anisa Ahmed, Nabiha Ahmed, Mayeesha Begum

There are many misunderstandings about the religion Islam, especially regarding the long familiar veil identified as the hijab. Based on real life circumstances, Belgium’s higher educational institutions have decided on the banning of the hijab. This decision has led to controversy within the media whereby Muslim women are protesting and demanding their rights to be restored. It is a violation of freedom of religion which can impact their lives tremendously. Muslim women all around the world wear the hijab to maintain modesty and privacy as well as visibly show their faith. It is a sign of empowerment. Generally, Muslims are perceived as violent and dangerous within the media, which is the reason why they become targeted with animosity. Due to the rise in extremism, there is an increase in Islamophobia as people assume that Muslims are terrorists. Within this short film we will find out some individual opinions on this matter and gain a greater depth. How do Muslim women in the UK feel about this verdict? How would they feel if they were in this position choosing between education and their faith? How does this impact their future?

3C Limbo, Chevenize Allen, Kedesha Clachar, Ebony Vogue McFarlane

Limbo (2021) is an intriguing, powerful, heartfelt docudrama based on real-life events. Three ordinary ladies tell their story of freedom and control from three perspectives that will take you on a journey. Ebony Vogue McFarlane, the granddaughter of migrants, speaks about historical incidents and migration issues from her first and second generations. Chevenize Allen finds that her life had taken a different turn whilst exploring different parts of her identity and is struggling with different kinds of belongingness after migration. Kedesha Clachar, undocumented, has important decisions to make in her life. Why is this film important? Migration is a universal social phenomenon that is multifaceted. The film will provide a visual and emotional account of the effects and impact of migration and will delve deeper into this topic and engage people in an open dialogue about the ‘Windrush’ scandal, one of the most controversial issues of our time surrounding migration. What are migrants facing? Deviations to immigration law by successive governments leave migrants fearful about their immigration status.

‘An interesting insight into the complexities of migration, rich with longing and constant questioning of how we reflect about who we are and where we come from.’ Kalindra Lyn

1D BIRDCAGE, Sahar Saif

Taken from aspects of day to day life, Birdcage explores the limitations that we face in society. University student Sahar Saif looks at the very real situation that we live in. She recognises the struggles faced by many and aims to use this short film as a first step to bringing down barriers between the elite and the majority of society. From health to education and knowledge, we see that there are many factors within society that play a role to tie people down to follow the rules of the elite. Individuals have been told for as long as time goes back that there is an order in society, things that must be followed. Rules. We take these rules and live by them, disregarding any negative impact that they have on our lives. We are told we need to work to earn money to live. Many people become so insanely stressed by this cycle that they turn to medication and health institutions for help, another social factor created by the elite. In the end, we are stuck in a whirlpool of hopelessness and continue to work for the ruling class in order to survive. Birdcage brings light to this.

3D From Blitz to Covid: A film about aging through war and lockdown, Freya Boyd

In 1939, in the middle of World War II, a generation of children were evacuated out of London and away from their families. This was for their own safety but against their will. 80 years later in 2020, those same children, now in their 80s and 90s, were confined to their homes and locked away from friends and family due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Again, for their own safety but against their will.

Edgar and Joyce Boyd, both aged 92, lived through both these ordeals. These experiences took complete control over both the beginning and now the last years of their lives. This poses the question – which was easier to escape?

Filmed in their South London home by their granddaughter and featuring memories from life in the 30s and 40s, this short film is a touching glimpse into their life from their perspective.

1E So where are the resources Boris?, Jimmy Raven Wolf

So where are the resource’s Boris! 24 billion to defend is he defending, homeless, elderly families without food. Boris (not only him there are others) sending our soldiers with families, to kill soldiers with families from a different country The World is a Mess.

Countries are paranoid, and spending resources on “Defence”. The word Defence, What does it mean, generally we think it means defending ourselves from Invasion or defending other countries, from other countries.

The national defence aims to ensure the state of democratic normality to which the society, namely citizens, communities and the State, aspire. This is based on efforts that aim at the establishment of legality, economic growth, social balance and political stability. This is achieved through the full exercise of citizen’s rights and freedoms, through the conscious assumption of responsibilities, and by affirming a state as a member of the community and international organisations.

I am trying to work out what is going on, this video puts across some of my thoughts about how resources are wasted on paranoia, destroying others and us, WHY?

3E Freedom Taken, Taking Control, Alischa Helps & Natasha McKenzie

This short film tells the story of one ballet dancer’s heartbreak who after having danced her whole life has her passion ripped away due to the unfolding situation of 2020. The film is a monologue of an archetypal ballet dancer, hardworking and committed, now left feeling she has nothing left because of the global pandemic. With her freedom taken and the prospect of having to retrain after years of pouring herself into dance she feels her only option is to take back control.

The poetry written by Natasha McKenzie which acts as the monologue for this film, is symbolic of the struggles many have faced in 2020; the pandemic, losing loved ones, lockdown, a government lacking true leadership, the Black Lives Matter Movement and the pressure of social media.

The imagery of using a ballet dancer is metaphorical as ballet dancers are perceived as perfection personified. Her feeling throughout the film is that she has been keeping up appearances and can no longer do so. The symbolism of the ballet with the poetry shows cinematic juxtaposition.

The use of stop motion enables the film to show the harsh realities of death and how families have been torn apart because of COVID19, without having to be explicit. What control does she really have left?

1F It Becomes Easier, Shahana Islam

In January 2021, my whole world fell apart after unexpectedly losing my father to Covid-19. This film is based around my sudden loss, my grieving, the heart-wrenching feeling of not having my father with me anymore, the indescribable hurt of being denied mourning with family and the overwhelming regret I feel of not being with him when he passed away due to lockdown.

A heartfelt narration through a personally written poem echoes my thoughts and pain, elevated with powerful performances by my daughters, 8-year-old Hadeeqa and 5-year-old Aneeqa, with the loving character of my father played by my wonderful husband Ranaul Islam. I am forever grateful to them for supporting me through this difficult time.

My story takes you on a journey of heartache, sorrow, regret and hope. I ask you to share my grief of untold words I want my father to know, how much I miss him and how I cannot wait to hold him again. For all those who have been through the awful time of loss, I pray you find some comfort in my words. Let the freedom and control of life and death, heartache and hope take you to a place of peace and understanding.

3F Freedom & Control, Sarah Jane Wilson

The year is 2020. The world looks like we have never seen it before. A global pandemic takes hold, and England is thrust into lockdown. Under strict instruction to only leave the house for essential reasons, people react in different ways. Some treat it as a holiday, others obsess over productivity, home workouts, cleaning, learning a language, taking up new hobbies.

One young couple struggles to adjust to this new way of life. Locked in together they are forced to confront their very different day to day routines. With their freedoms taken away, will they manage to stay in control? While one revels in the lack of rules and deadlines, the other struggles to stay on top of things. Stuck inside with only the government’s messy updates to guide them, will they crack? Can they maintain a level of freedom? Who is in control? Will they be forced to rethink their ideas around what it means to have freedom, and be in control?

Sarah Jane Wilson has released her long-awaited seminal film. Mark Kermode has called it “Breath-taking, not one to miss”.

1G Freedom and Control, Sumaya Islam, Iaba Rahman Chy, Nicole Conde, Ebru Hassan

During this challenging period, the pandemic has had a cold affect on our freedom and control. The advice to stay at home, in order to help protect the NHS was a straight message, yet our freedom and control was manipulated by others and we were only free when it benefited them.

Our film includes various clips of how we see freedom, and how we visualise freedom, with other clips that portray how the recent global pandemic has deprived us of our freedom with how many restrictions for everyone to follow. We think about how much freedom everyone had before.

One of the cities, known to be the most fashionable in the world for a distinctive minority, took a huge pause cancelling many popular events. During a worldwide pandemic, many people and influencers were striving to express their sense of fashion through their freedom of choice, complimenting masks with outfits. As many people wanted to buy trendy, fashionable clothing, it became entirely pointless to the extent where there was nowhere to go.

Using a mask has allowed me and others to express more freedom than usual, since it covers our faces and emotions – there is less pressure to look a certain way or to portray a certain emotion. It allows oneself to be more comfortable with the rest of the world, not having to worry about the perception of others.

3G I Am She, a short film created by Aiyana Jarrett-Andrews

Even though we have been trapped in our bedrooms for the past year, the bond of sisterhood still prevails. I AM SHE explores how women live a similar but unparalleled experience. Navigating the world as a woman can be difficult, but shared experiences’ will always bring us together.

This short film is set in a bedroom zoom interview style to reflect the coronovirus pandemic’s impact. A group of nine women discuss their experiences with womanhood. They also begin to evaluate what freedom and control means to them.

‘Femininity is not a prescribed ideal; it is something each woman has the power to shape and define for themselves.’

‘As women, freedom and control are issues we need to address and redefine, and ‘I Am She’ does a brilliant job of opening up these conversations. This short film also sheds light on the importance of supporting one another, especially with the pandemic and lack of social contact that people are facing right now. The zoom call style of the video also feels very familiar, but also makes you feel connected to the women in the piece.’ Alula Jarrett

The film will leave you questioning: what does your femininity mean to you.

Featuring music from Sabrina Claudio.

3H Twenty20, a short film based on true events created by Emilija Striugaite

2020 a year that normal life took a sudden turn, and the word normal gained a new meaning. The year a global pandemic began wiping out the population and the world stopped. This film is based in late winter and early spring of a new year when London was in its third lockdown, ‘Twenty20’ explores the theme of freedom and control by the creator of the film disobeying the rules set by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The short film shares shots of some of the most known and populated places in the heart of London. However, the scenes you come across are something you wouldn’t expect! It’s not the busy London you know, it’s the ghost town in Tier 4 of LOCKDOWN.

Some friends of Emilija Striugaite have shared their thoughts on the film:
‘Emilija’s movie was great! It covers how our normal life has been put on pause briefly, however Emilija going out and following the guidelines shows us what we are dearly missing and how we all want to return to normality.’ Craig L. Ferguson.

‘This is a perfect representation of how much grief and fear COVID installed in people. The fact that the busiest streets in London are now no more, really paints the “ghost town” picture as mentioned, which is very shocking really. This project is the perfect representation of how much this phenomenon really slowed people down, while diminishing the public’s faith in government.’ Dufie. A. Opare.