Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council: Tackling Homelessness Documentary

Powerful Awareness Film
The brief for TINKER TAYLOR’s recent homelessness film came via Birmingham City Council. They wanted to produce a 15-minute documentary addressing why people become homeless, what the Council is already doing to tackle this, as well as their vision for the future and how the people of Birmingham can help.

The Brief

We were thrilled about this opportunity to produce high impact video content that inspires meaningful social change. The film features interviews with thirteen different people. Among them are local councillors, charitable organisations, and people with personal experiences of homelessness. The variety of contributors necessitated extensive scene-by-scene storyboarding of the film.

Using key messages provided by the client, we sketched the film’s narrative, and following sign-off crafted bespoke interview questions for each participant to elicit our desired key messages. Sourcing a large number of interview locations can be a time-consuming and expensive ordeal: to solve this problem and cut costs for our client, we opted to film all thirteen interviews outdoors in locations across the city. Many of these are popular rough sleeping spots, and so their use in the film visually reinforces the Council’s engagement with the issue.

The Approach

We adopted a loose, observational videography style throughout. Shooting the footage ‘on the fly’ immediately engages the viewer as it feels familiar – this is the way most of us experience homelessness after all. The style is authentic, grounded. It feels real. We immerse ourselves in the video and connect with the speakers all the better for it.

The video also features an animated sequence covering key statistics about homelessness in Birmingham. This section of the film informs – and shocks – the viewer. We felt such information was an important inclusion, as opening people’s eyes to the severity of the issue makes them more inclined to watch on and learn what they can do to help.

The Reception

"One of the best films about homelessness I've ever seen."

Jon Sparkes, CEO of Crisis UK
Tackling Homelessness was released on June 18th 2019 at the Everyman Cinema in Birmingham, to an audience of 60 invited guests – including members of the media. It was subsequently featured on ‘BBC News at Six’ and various local news outlets, where its raw and honest portrayal of the homelessness crisis was highly praised.

The film has since embarked on a road show that includes a Q&A with its crew and contributors, as part of which it has so far screened at the Midlands Arts Centre and Birmingham Weekender Festival, all to further positive reviews from locals and the media alike. In the future we hope to bring the film and Q&A to local schools, educating young people about the homelessness crisis that’s all around us.
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