Forever Young Film goes International!
Being Human sponsored project screened at University of British Columbia.
‘Forever Young’ is a very special documentary produced by Manchester Metropolitan University as part of the 2014 Being Human Festival. Featuring the oral histories of eight people who were teenagers in eight different decades, it traverses munitions work in the Second World War, 50s Teddy Boys, 60s radicalism, 70s punk, 80s race relations, 90s rave and the new mediated and globalised sensibilities of young people in the 21st Century. During the 2014 festival period, the film was screened with a live panel interview conducted by DJ and youth historian Dave Haslam. Since then, the project has had a great legacy, being screened again in Manchester, Liverpool and Preston. We have greatly enjoyed screening the film across the North West, to a variety of audiences drawn from students, academics and the wider public. As Executive Producer of the film, I also had the honour earlier this week of taking our very local project much further afield, as we were invited to screen the film at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Forever Young in Vancouver
Our invitation to UBC came from Professor Lisa Loutzenheiser of the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education and Dr Lori Macintosh of the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at UBC (who generously donated the space for the screening event). The screening was well attended, mainly by PhD students from courses in youth studies and video ethnography. The MMU delegation was led by Professor Melanie Tebbutt, whose research at the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies informed the finished documentary. Melanie treated the audience to a pre-screening presentation which not only dealt with the questions raised by the film’s content but also gave a brilliant potted history of Manchester as an industrial heartland and cultural centre.
Also in attendance was Neil Harrison, a third year undergraduate student in the Department of History at MMU, and Editor-in-Chief of our Student Press Office. Neil conducted all the face-to-face interviews featured in the film, and was able to bring his unique insight into the film-making process to the question and answer panel held after the screening. The students amused and gratified us by describing Forever Young’s depiction of North West life as ‘exotic’ (the first time we’ve ever been called that!). The audience were overwhelmingly positive in their feedback, with one member saying ‘thank you for the lovely film, I thought it was a beautiful way of sharing peoples’ stories as well as broader themes of memory, youth and time.‘
Seeing through new eyes
So, since its debut at the Being Human festival 2014 ‘Forever Young’ really has had an incredible legacy. Since the initial screening with the full panel at Manchester Central Library we have screened to a further 60 people at MMU, with a presentation, to 60 undergraduate youth studies students at Liverpool Hope University, and to students at the University of Central Lancashire. The film is also being used as a teaching aid for youth studies, history and fashion courses at MMU.
The chance to show ‘Forever Young’ internationally was informative and educational for ourselves as much as for the audience, as we got to see our film through the eyes of people completely unfamiliar with the tropes and clichés of Manchester history. We were incredibly pleased that they received the film with such great positivity and hope that we have inspired further filmmaking and the use of oral history to capture dialogue from different generations.
Helen Malarky is Research and Impact Manager, Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Manchester Metropolitan University. ‘Forever Young’ will be screened in its entirety at the University of London on June 10 2015.