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Shank: making a point

The shocking events at London’s Victoria station last Thursday, when a teenager was murdered by a large group of youths appearing to be a school gang, shows that the level of knife crime among young people is clearly as rife as ever.

The government and charities have been very forward thinking and established several anti-knife and anti-violence initiatives, with sites like and offering young people places to seek help and advice.  Both were promoted through the Ten Nine networks of secondary schools and youth centres to place the messages directly into young people’s minds, using posters and clings.  The launch of the government campaign focusing on abuse in teenage relationships was also communicated direct to its 13-18 year old target audience with posters and postcards in youth centres and schools.

All these campaigns are designed to be talking to young people, rather than preaching at them. In the same vein, today (26th March) sees the nationwide release of Shank ‘a fresh and gritty action film for the youth generation’ whose message is strictly anti-knives and violence which has been well received by the broadsheets.

The film is set in 2015 and deals with the whole issue of gang culture which some inner city teens inevitably find themselves drawn into. The sound track recognises the emergence of Grime which has fast become the identity of urban culture and carries exclusive tracks from leading acts including Bashy and Skepta.

Director Mo Ali spoke to young people in schools to discover what type of film would appeal to them – “Overall, what came out was that they wanted more fantasy elements, rather than the gritty, depressing, ‘this is what it’s like living in the ghetto’. They know that – they don’t need to be reminded of it. This was about taking something that didn’t feel like it had much scope, just another depressing gang film shot on a low-budget in London, and trying to make it epic.”

The film was made in cooperation with the Damilola Taylor Trust to promote community, friendship, forgiveness – the need for a society founded on the ideals of kindness and selflessness as opposed to cruelty and selfishness.

TenNine London schools and youth centres were selected to run posters to publicise the film to older teenagers.  Helping to promote this kind of challenging film complements and reinforces the thread of campaigns TenNine has supported which focus on the many forms of violence and abuse affecting teenagers.

It remains to be seen whether there will be a reduction in knife related youth crime, but with films like Shank complementing government efforts, the message will reach the widest possible audience.

One Comment

  1. […] TenNine had been asked to carry posters for the cinema release of the film, which we did as we felt it complemented the other campaigns against knifes and violence we had carried this academic year.  My blog piece put it into this context (you can read it here). […]

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