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Becontree Estate | The Collaboration and Creativity behind the project

Feb 4, 2022

We’re thrilled to share with you one of our recent projects which took us to Becontree Estate in Dagenham back in November. ‘Becontree Estate’ is a collaborative project between ourselves, The Mirror and Barking and Dagenham College. Becontree Estate was once the largest social housing estate in the world and marked its 100 year anniversary last year which adds to the significance of this project. Becontree is a community packed with history and rich in a diverse culture. Our role was to produce a short film that reflects life on Becontree Estate, past and present.

For this film, we wanted the additional shots to mirror the sense of community and diversity that many of the contributors highlight in their interviews. The use of split-screen was a creative choice to further emphasise the diversity of the estate, accentuating that every corner of the estate offers something different. We also felt strongly about including the Dagenham Pipers, who are intrinsic to the history of the area and have been playing for 85 years. We wanted to capture them playing their music on the estate to create something musically and visually magical for audiences to experience. 

The Dagenham Pipers

Northern Heart Films don’t just work with heart in the North of England. As ever, Northern Heart’s grassroots approach to film-making, eye for visual detail, and warm approach meant the film was built from the people up. The result is a film that truthfully tells, in just a few minutes, what it’s like to live on the Becontree in 2022, and why it’s a very special place.

Ros Wynne-Jones, Columnist, The Mirror

One of our favourite aspects of filmmaking is the fantastic opportunities to meet and work with a diverse range of interesting people who can offer new perspectives. The contributors of the film were residents from the estate, some who were deep-rooted there and lived there their whole lives, others who had found Becontree and were happy to call it home, and others who dreamt of leaving. We managed the Photography and Moving image students from Barking and Dagenham College through a variety of workshops that set creative guidelines to equip them with the framework for shooting. The interviews with the residents were then recorded by the students. Programme leader, David Bennett was pleased with the outcome of the film and the collaborative opportunity this project afforded his students.

Scott Bradley, Students of Barking and Dagenham College, David Bennett

“The production provided the students with skills in research, planning, logistics, filming, sound, editing, and working to strict deadlines. Equally important was their direct involvement with Northern Heart Films and The Mirror, from initial planning meetings, feedback and development. Scott, Natasha and Ros were very supportive and encouraging and we thank them for the opportunity”

David Bennett, Programme Leader, Barking and Dagenham College

The project was another amazing opportunity for Northern Heart Films to create an impactful film that really honed in on real people and their authentic experiences in a dynamic way. We’re honoured that The Mirror entrusted us and our friendly approach to deliver the short film. The film is due to be released soon.

Hayley Hoban
Behind the Scenes