The venue Spark:York recently premiered a series of short films covering challenging subjects which impact young people, such as cyber bullying and revenge porn. The actors, film makers and location owners from York involved in creating the project for a leading youth charity were among those who attended this first screening.

“Our charity works with young people between 11 and 19,” says Kate Allen, director of the Polarized Youth Group. “Part of our work is to produce educational resources such as workshops and pop-up events related to Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship. There’s a lot of social stigma surrounding relationships and sexual health. We hope the And Cut… films will open up dialogue and help young people should they ever face these situations.”

The films follow characters faced with decisions and then reacting to what happens next. Viewers can test out the scenarios by selecting different actions which then leads to different consequences. The project uses the latest technology in storyboarding, scheduling and even a digital clapperboard app to keep it fresh.

“Because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we’ve worked closely with Polarized Youth, giving them all the necessary information to be able to approve everything in advance,” explains Mike Leigh Cooper of InkBlot Films. His colleague Jay Sillence adds: “we’ve covered so many aspects of video production from scriptwriting to directing, animation to editing. The cast have been perfect to work with. They have really made our words come to life.”

Cast members see the films as being catalysts for discussion. The actor Liam French who plays Dan says “I hope that if they ever get into a similar situation, they would make the right decision.” The actor, Oscar (Tom) Kennedy who plays Mike says that “The way we’ve done it should encourage people to identify the signs and realise that they’re not alone.”

The And Cut… films will be available to schools and youth groups to support teaching about healthy relationships in PSHE education from spring 2020.

Healthy releationships in PHSE

Find out more about how schools are required to teach about healthy relationships in PHSE lessons in this National Curriculum section.