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Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Monday, 5 July 2010 12:56 UK
Old Colwyn's young filmmakers tell the police what to do

Neil Dunsire, Darren Cave and Jonathan Williams
Tape will premiere Legacy, a feature-length film, later this year

Young people who've been through the justice system got the chance to tell police and magistrates what to do for a change when they made a film based on their experiences.

Go Wrong was one of three short films made by members of Tape Community Music and Film premiered at Theatr Colwyn in Colwyn Bay last week.

The films, on issues ranging from Community Payback schemes to youth offending and busking, had all been created at Tape's Old Colwyn media centre, which works with people from all ages and backgrounds.

Go Wrong depicts a young woman with an alcoholic parent who gets mixed up in selling drugs and assaults a friend with a bottle.

"We had six weeks before it would be shown at Cineworld [Llandudno Junction] and the young people completed every aspect on time," said Steve Swindon, one of the co-founders and directors of Tape.

When we had the red carpet premiere, it was perhaps the first time their families had heard people say positive things about them
Steve Swindon, Tape

"We had real police and magistrates acting their own parts, which was a really positive experience for those young people who would only have had negative views of the North Wales Police.

"The officers gave them some advice on the scripts and, in turn, they got to marshal them around a bit during scenes and have a laugh."

Steve was delighted that, following this experience, some of the young people enrolled on media courses and others were helping out at Tape.

"They were listened to and made to feel like their ideas counted for something," he said. "And when we had the red carpet premiere, it was perhaps the first time their families had heard people say positive things about them."

Another person seeing his work on the big screen for the first time was Jonathan 'Jono' Williams of Colwyn Bay who directed a film about a year in the life of Tape's in-house music group, Ghostbuskers.

The group sang live on Radio Wales with Brian Hibbard of the Flying Pickets

"They gave me a camera and said 'go and film it'," said Jono. "I didn't know what I was doing at first, but through the support of everyone at Tape and the Ghostbuskers I began to learn and I've never had so much fun in my life."

The Ghostbuskers combine Tape's guitar and vocal groups and can often be seen on Colwyn Bay prom or at the Conwy Feast.

"It's more important than the music," said Jono. "It's about the friendships and the laughs we have.

"I get the support to be creative at Tape. You have to push yourself, but the opportunity is there if you want it and that's the most important thing."

Fellow Ghostbusker Darren Cave is also grateful for the second family he's found at Tape.

"I was in a halfway house when Steve and Chris [Richards, co-director of Tape] came to see me and asked if I wanted to work on a music project.," said Darren.

"If it wasn't for Steve and Chris, there wouldn't be anywhere for us to go and do our music and have a laugh."

Substance abuse

Steve and Chris previously worked for the MASE music project in Colwyn Bay and when it folded decided there was still a job to be done. They have big plans for Tape.

"We've got our centre with a studio and stage, but we want to upscale a bit to become a fully-fledged art centre with a bit more of an identity in the area," said Steve.

"We're about to award our first formal qualification, which is really exciting, and we'd like to do more to support people into employment and further education."

Tape is contracted to support children with special needs and the substance abuse teams, but also does one-off projects with mental health services and the youth justice service.

They are also launching a scheme where local businesses and individuals are invited to pay to become associate members of Tape in exchange for acknowledgement and invitations to Tape events.

"But we don't want to lose our core work ethic, which is to follow the creative ideas people have when they come to us," said Steve. "We're making steady progress, fingers crossed."



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