The projects, which often have a social theme focusing on issues concerning young people and families, are scrupulously researched, and are supported by the specialist knowledge of professionals in the field.
Dawson Films began, like all good things, by accident. It's director Sue Dawson was making a couple of films for The Prince’s Trust at the time they were granted A Royal Charter. The Trust decided to honour the young people they were working with by staging a celebration event at the palace. In honour of the award Her Majesty the Queen gave consent for live cameras to film the event from inside Buckingham Palace for the very first time. The Royal Charter ceremony, attended by the government, celebrities from sport, business and film and most importantly young people helped by the Prince’s Trust was then filmed and broadcast live across the world. From a director/producer working from her back bedroom Sue became a company.
From a lucky, shaky and magnificent start Dawson Films has gone from strength to strength, with 90% of the work coming in through word of mouth or personal recommendation.
There are a few key things that make Dawson Films stand out from the crowd:
• We work to a strict ethical code, giving all participants informed choice about their involvement in the film. They can ask for recording to be stopped or cameras to be turned off at any time. They have a right to see a roughcut and all footage that involves themselves, whether it’s included in the final film or not.
• The programmes are scrupulously researched, and are supported by the specialist knowledge of professionals in the field.
• We work in close collaboration with our clients to make progressive and uplifting programmes. Our aim is to create awareness and a climate for positive change.
The Work Most of the work is drama documentary, looking at the issues faced by vulnerable groups in our society. We make a lot of films in prisons and young offender institutions and with families at risk. Much of the programming is about giving people a voice, for example prisoners advising other prisoners on how to survive their sentence and turn their lives around, teenage mums giving tips to others on bringing up a family on benefit.
Some of the work gives you the opportunity to see the world through another’s eyes:
• How does it feel to be five years old going to see your daddy in prison? Is it scary when you get sniffed by a dog that’s as big as you are? What’s it like being patted all over by someone in a uniform?
• How does it feel to be a young person going through the care system; to have had thirty placements in as many months? To have to fill in a 58 page booklet once a year and have social workers ask you personal details about your life?
• How does it feel when you’re seven years old and mummy and daddy are shouting at each other all the time? Is it your fault?
Our programmes are inspiring; they’re fresh and raw, combining the highest production values with the energy and verve of real people saying real things.