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Film by Newark videographers captures council estate life

Two creatives from Newark have helped produce a series of mockumentary-style films about life on a council estate.

Filmmakers Alex Abraham and Steve Watson, who runs Newark TV, joined forces with tatooist to the stars, Kevin Paul, earlier this year to give a realistic insight into the lives of those on a low income.

Filmed on Salisbury Drive in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, Common is designed to make viewers question whether what they see on screen is real or not.

Alex Abraham (51877195)
Alex Abraham (51877195)

Alex, who co-directed Common alongside Kevin, said: "There's a few that don't realise that it's a mockumentary, but there's also a few that do get the undertones that I'm trying to achieve.

"Everyone you see is an actor, but if you can believe that it's all real then I've done my job. They pulled it off convincingly.

The promotional poster for Common. (51736773)
The promotional poster for Common. (51736773)

"I was tired of doing corporate and music videos, which I still do for businesses around here, and it was nice to have a proper attempt at doing a proper short film and I'm quite proud of what I've done."

Alex grew up on a council estate in Balderton and has aspired to make films since he was a child.

"When we were growing up, me and my brother used to kid about the fact that we were both going to become filmmakers," Alex said.

Kevin Paul (51737817)
Kevin Paul (51737817)

A link to episode two is below. Warning: contains swearing and offensive language

"I always felt like I would like to film something that was gritty realism, so if I can achieve half of what he's done already that would a good thing."

Kevin Paul (51737810)
Kevin Paul (51737810)

Kevin wrote Common in the space of two weeks and used aspiring actors from the Swadlincote community to play the key characters.

He said: "We did about six weeks where I literally let anyone from any walk of life that felt like they had no opportunities come down and do some acting.

"From that, there were a lot of them that really stood out to me that I thought had potential to be entertaining.

Steve Watson (5317915)
Steve Watson (5317915)

"I was that person once upon a time that was brought up on a council estate, that had nothing and dreamt of being successful but had no way of being successful.

"I'm really keen to help other people, I want to give them that. This show is that opportunity for everyone, for all the actors involved and Alex."

Once the filming process had finished, Alex, who also teaches at Newark Academy once a week, returned home to complete the editing process.

He balanced the work with looking after his mother, who had fallen ill with cancer.

"With Common, it was my first video that felt like it had the potential to reach a vast audience and I'm happy with the process and how I've done it, especially coping with the family situation that I've had," Alex said.

"The ultimate goal was to capture the nation and show what each area is like.

"Even if it doesn't go big, I'm happy if it makes an impact or raises an awareness that you can turn your life around."

Kevin, who grew up on a council estate in Swadlincote, now wants to bring Common to areas like Newark to show the realities of poverty across the country.

Kevin said: "Poverty is struggling to pay your bills, it's struggling to make money to buy fags for the next day. It's these little subjects that no one else really did.

"I don't want to make something that is clearly fake, I wanted to make this genuine, as gritty and as real as I possibly could.

"I'm really confident now that I could take this anywhere in the country and do the same with any kids from any estate."

To watch episode one of Common, click here. To watch episode two, click here (warning: strong language and scenes of drug use)

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