This pair of emotionally resonant films see Brian Hill collaborating with Simon Armitage to give voice to the young men and women inFeltham and Downview Prisons – voices we rarely hear, expressed here through their own words reinterpreted as lyrics and sung by the participants.
Feltham Sings (2002, 49 mins)
This revelatory documentary engages with the inmates at Feltham Young Offenders Institution, finding a unique way to enable them to tell their stories and express themselves with striking results.
Traditionally, when a prisoner ‘sings’, it means betrayal. Here, the prisoners of Feltham tell us their dreams and their pain in song. The experiences they sing about are dark and intense, but this fresh approach, played with the music of Dextrous, encourages us to see them as much more than car thieves, thugs and burglars.
Songbirds (2005, 62 mins)
Collaborating again with Simon Armitage, Brian Hill’s Songbirds is a female counterpoint to Feltham Sings, meeting the women in Downview Prison in Sutton.
Their crimes range from manslaughter to sexual assault to burglary. Rather than telling us about their lives in a conventional documentary style, the women’s own words are re-presented as song in a variety of styles ranging from hip hop to lullaby.
Sunday 16th August: 17.00 + Q& with Brian Hill
Thursday 20th August: 18.30
See what else is playing in the Brian Hill Retrospective HERE
Feltham Sings (2002)
“This documentary is a work of art, and the young offenders are its stars. Both in performance and interviews, their faces, stories and language compel attention. Banged up in their cells or dancing around their units, there's tremendous power in the way they deliver their message.” The Observer.
"The...film is terrific – powerful, moving, bleak, funny and hopeful, all at the same time." The Guardian.