6th August 2001
A Hull film-maker plans to use the power of animation to address problems faced by youngsters in Preston Road.
Paul Sinclair (28) is working with children at the Preston Road Regeneration Centre to produce a ten-minute 3D animated film which will aim to raise aspirations and change the behaviour of some of the area’s youngsters
“I’ve been looking at the Preston Road area and its problems - crime, bullying and under-achievement in schools – and finding out how local people feel about finishing school and going to university,” said Paul, who lives off Spring Bank.
“They don’t have very much faith or place much value in the education system. I asked children to fill in a questionnaire and the overwhelming impression they had was that universities are for posh and clever people rather than something that’s open to all.
“As part of my masters I’m making an animated film to be used as a catalyst, influencing the way kids think and behave. It will be helpful as a trigger for starting off discussions and raising taboos.”
The film will feature a girl who wants to be a journalist when she grows up and her friend, a boy who is led astray by his badly behaved friends. “She will be the role model, delivering messages about having dreams and goals, about self-belief and aspirations,” says Paul.
Paul has spent the last few months working with children from Preston Road on narrative, themes and content to make sure that the film is relevant to today’s youngsters. Then he will use young actors from Hull Truck Youth Theatre to provide the voices for the characters in the film. “I want to try to keep the accents neutral so that the film has relevance elsewhere - if it can be used to benefit thousands rather than just hundreds of kids it will have a lot more power.”
Paul graduated last summer with a degree in Animation from the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside and has since dovetailed studying for his masters with working part-time as a Learning Support service adviser at the university’s city centre campus.
“I started off with models and puppets but I’ve since gone more into computer animation because it’s a lot cheaper now - you don’t need a studio, lighting or film stock,” he says.
He and his parents, who were originally from Grimsby, moved to the UK from South Africa nine years ago – and it was problems in his homeland which first set him thinking about using animation to change behaviour.
“My initial idea was to use animation to help people in South Africa and to address violence in the townships. Funding was a problem, however, and I couldn’t afford to go back out there to do what I wanted to do, so I thought the best idea would be to start closer to home and work from there.
“This project is a stepping stone for me: in the future I’d like to set up a foundation that specialises in making educational films. Most animators get sucked into commercial work, but I’m more interested in using animation to address issues and help people.
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· Paul Sinclair’s film is being made as part of the Preston Road New Deal for Communities project based at the Preston Road Regeneration Centre, Flinton Grove
· Paul will be at the centre on Wednesday 8th August from 6pm to 8pm to demonstrate his ideas and test the narrative on local youngsters
· The film will be in production in September and it should be finished by the end of the year
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For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager
University of Lincolnshire & Humberside
Tel: 01522 886042
Check for the latest university news at http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/news